Palm Beach IT Association – January 2009 Meeting

Posted January 11, 2009 by Brian
Categories: Palm Beach IT Association

This coming Tuesday the PBIT meeting will be hosting Tish Boyles and Jose Gomez from D-Link. If you haven’t already done so and are planning on attending, please sign up so we have an accurate head-count.

NOTE: The meeting will not be held at our normal location due to a scheduling conflict. We will be meeting at Panera Bread in the meeting room, directions and map are available on the PBIT site.

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Feature request for Windows Home Server

Posted January 11, 2009 by Brian
Categories: Tech, Windows Home Server

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.

Online Ordering Intranet Portal

Posted January 10, 2009 by Brian
Categories: PHP, Tech, WebSites

While writing an online ordering portal to be used internally between multiple locations to standardize their purchases, I needed to create an easy, web-based way to add and modify product entries in a MySQL database. I started trying to put this together using PHP and after a little while decided to start browsing the web for other options to get it done quicker as I realized this was not going to be a quick thing to put together.

I came across a great little project called phpMyEdit. This is a great PHP tool that will create an interface for your table(s) that can be customized a great deal and easily integrated into your site. So rather than having to spend hours reinventing the wheel I was able to complete the project and have a cool looking administration page to go with it.

If you go to the actual download site and look at some around, there are some other projects there that look pretty interesting as well.

Managing your UPS on Windows Home Server

Posted January 2, 2009 by Brian
Categories: Tech, Windows Home Server

Now having a WHS running in the house, I was looking around trying to figure out how to get it talking with my UPS to make sure it wouldn’t have issues when the power dies. Being in Florida, it’s not a question of if but just when the next one will happen.

Turns out there’s a great add-in for WHS that will manage your UPS, from multiple vendors even! Aside from monitoring the UPS events and automatically shutting down the system when the battery runs low, you can configure Grid Junction to launch a script as well. This works out great for WHS because you can setup a script that will shut off the other computers on your network that may be connected to the same UPS as well as kick off an email to alert you that the system is shutting down because of power failure.

If you’re running WHS, I highly recommend adding this app!

Star Trek

Posted December 30, 2008 by Brian
Categories: Ramblings

While this isn’t exactly tech related…I grew up watching the original Star Trek series (and yes I still laugh at it to this day.) Just watched the trailer for the new movie and it looks interesting…

Task Scheduler 2.0 Email

Posted December 29, 2008 by Brian
Categories: Server 2008, Tech, vista

I was originally excited about the new Task Scheduler built into Windows Server 2008 & Vista….I liked the idea of being able to easily select an event from the Event Viewer and schedule a task to trigger when it occurred. I was thinking this would make a really easy way to monitor some simple server stats…for example, anytime a login (failed or successful) occurred I could have an email alert sent. This was nice for servers that I know people shouldn’t be physically logging into on a regular basis.

The part that sucks though is that from everything I’ve read the email is sent using NTLM authentication for Windows SMTP servers. If you’re not using Windows SMTP server the email will still be sent if the server allows anonymous access. Well, if you’re trying to use a non-Windows server on the Internet and it does not allow anonymous access, looks like you’re out of luck.

Time to redo that PowerShell script to email alerts.

For reference, here’s a Technet post with info about the email settings: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/winservergen/thread/f087c57c-57b8-4c7f-ba2a-feb04c51f5ba/

Simply option to create a demo

Posted December 23, 2008 by Brian
Categories: Tech, vista

I need to create a quick video tutorial for an application and figured it would be much easier to have a little guided demo that shows the actual steps and clicks rather than the long, boring step by step list of what to click. I know there’s tons of apps out there than can create presentations and demos but wasn’t looking for anything fancy. Then I came across this link – How to Create a video Presentation,  which reminded me I could do this from within Windows using the Windows Media Encoder.

After a quick test it looks like it will work…have to see what the end users think to know for sure. If you’re installing on Vista, there’s also a patch available to fix 3 known issues.