Archive for category Computers

Data Control

I require data to do my current job. If you do not provide me with accurate data or you do not allow me to gather the data necessary, I cannot do my job successfully.

Do not ask me to do my job without the data, as you won’t actually get what you were promised. You will in fact get garbage.

And when everything blows up in our collective faces, do not pile all the blame on me….you will be just as guilty for not providing me or allowing me to gather the data I needed to perform the job you asked me to do.

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Right In Front of My Face

Warning: Work Related

Ran into an issue recently. I have to connect via RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) to a Server 2k8 VM that is running a SQL DB for a portion of my current project. Standard stuff, no issue.

While connected I need to run an import batch file that extracts and imports *.CAB files containing information about MS Office files. It’s all part of Microsofts OMPM application. More pretty standard stuff, once you read up on it.

Issue that I ran into was that the RDP session, once I disconnected (which allows ALL the programs running to continue) would timeout after 30 minutes and clear the session. This had the wonderful affect of stopping all running applications and batch processes.

I knew this had to be a setting. I knew it. Yet I could not find it.

Finally, after several iterations of the search term in Google, I found a forum post that, although not the exact answer I was looking for, made the way a bit clearer.

Come to find out, the answer was right in front of my face the entire time. However, due to the way MS sorts their Start Menu and subsequent sub menus, I was totally missing it.

+1 to me KNOWING that it HAD to be an easily accessible setting and not stopping until I found it.

-1 for me not paying attention.

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Someplace New

Now onto my second work project, in a whole new location, with mostly new people. Going to be working on an Office 2010 migration, which is actually a lot more intersting than it sounds.

Looks to me like my history of desktop support is now putting me on projects dealing with desktop migration. Not too bad, as there is an increasing amount of business for it (which is good). I just have to make sure I don’t get pigeon-holed into it (which is bad). We’ll see how it all goes.

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Sending the Wrong Message

Listen, Windows 7 is huge change from Vista. The UI is different, the code is different, it is just a better operating system.

If you are going to commit to upgrading to it from Vista, after bashing Vista and pestering me about an upgrade, don’t come to me two days later saying you don’t like the UI, and that you liked the way Vista handled it better. Deal with it. Learn it. Because the worst thing you can do IF YOUR JOB IS TO CONVINCE OTHERS TO USE IT is show that you don’t like the way it works.

That’s like working for Car Company X but owning and driving a car from their competitor Car Company Y.


On A Lighter Note

I apologize if the last post was a bit heavy, but it was just one of those things that I needed to get off my chest. I promise that this one will be more frivolous and have everybody clicking onto another page quickly.

Halo: The Cole Protocol and Halo: Contact Harvest
I have taken a break from reading about Tao, although I am planning on reading more. I switched gears a bit back to the comforting realm od Science Fiction/Fantasy for a while. The aforementioned books are part of the Halo universe and take place in the years leading upto the action in the first Xbox video game. Both are well written and focus on many of the secondary characters. Read in conjunction with the other Halo novels, they paint a vivid mural of the fictional universe. At the same time I feel it takes a more practical look at the scope of technology 500 years in the future. In terms of technology, it is more Starship Troopers than Star Trek. If you’re a fan of Sci-Fi/military books, this will most likely entertain you. Next is Ghosts of Onyx, a story more focused on the SPARTAN super soldiers.

Last night I had the opportunity to run a few dungeons with a new guy (friend of a friend) and made out like a bandit in terms of Loot. I picked up the following items:

Head Piece: Gaze of the Unknown
Chest Piece: Embrace of Madness
Back: Kurisu’s Indecision

We also assisted our tank, Luinil, in getting his Epic Flying Mount; The Reins of the Bronze Drake
There shall be more of us on this evening, so we are planning on chain running heroics for badges to get better loot. It’s all about the rewards people.

Arcade Fire – Funeral
I recently picked up this album, mostly on the merits of the song Wake Up, which was featured in the trailer for Where the Wild Things Are. I have to say, the music as a whole flows very well, and is suprisingly upbeat. So much so that I found myself smiling and feeling in high spirits while listening to it. I highly recommend this album.

Windows 7 people. Trust me on this one. If you don’t have the hipster cred or the disposable income for a Mac, this truly is the next best thing. Beginning deployment at work this week.

That’s it for now, mayhaps a retelling of tonights dungeon runs tomorrow? 😉


A shot to the Self Esteem

I took the train into Connecticut on Saturday to assist the parents with some projects and returned back on Sunday morning.

One of the projects I had to work on was the rebuild of the parents only computer due to a nasty virus infection. What a fiasco that turned into….

First off, they have close to 15 gigabytes of photos and documents and the machine is close to five years old. That being the case, the USB support is version 1.1 and not the faster 2.0. So it took me a total of four hours to copy all that data off the machine. This should have been a signal of what was to come.

Once that finished around 11pm, I begin the re-install of XP. The only part that actually WORKED in the entire fiasco. At that point it was 12:30am

Thankfully, this copy of XP included compatible network drivers, so I was back on the internet right away and I began doing updates. Unfortunately, the USB support went completely out the window. Nothing got it to recognize my thumb drive. Even going so far as updating the chipset drivers failed. As I had planned to transfer the files back via USB as well as use USB to transfer the Anti-virus and Office install files, this caused a serious crimp in the process. So I began the download process for at least the AV software…I could send them a DVD of Office at a later date. It is now 1:30am.

Download and install Service Pack 3 for XP, download and install Anti-virus, download and install several security updates, reboot and……..nothing. Nothing AT ALL. Not a thing. Monitor goes into power saver mode, even though the OS boots. It’s 3:30am at this point. I almost cried.

At this point, my parents woke up for some reason, and were shocked I was still awake working on this. They told me to quit it and go to bed. I did….extremely pissed off and disheartened. The only thing that allowed me to go to sleep was my exhaustion at 4am. I slept well until I had to wake up at 7:30am as I needed to head back to NYC early. So three hours of sleep is what I got. When I awoke the feelings of letting down the folks and not being able to finish came rushing back…I felt sick to my stomach and was mostly silent when I went out to breakfast with my family.

I’m not usually like this when something goes south like this whole rebuild did. I always let it go, and realize I did all I could. I am betting that it was the exhaustion and aggravation of it all that really got to me, but I seriously felt like an utter and complete failure. The funny thing is though, my parents weren’t even bummed about it….they were appreciative that I tried and are using it as a final excuse to upgrade to a new computer, so it did work out well. But it still bugged the shit out of me.

I no longer feel this way, so that’s why I’m thinking it was just the lack of sleep getting to me. And today has been a very busy and productive day. I know I am not a failure, and I did all I could in a limited amount of time for them. But still, it was a horrible feeling, and it worries me how close to the surface these feelings are.


Upgrading a Mac Mini

It’s easier than it seems. The below video was the second one on the list when I did a Google search.

Only problem I had was getting the last screw in (giggity!), so i forgot about it, as a good IT person does! When you have extra parts after putting it back together it just means that they weren’t needed in the first place!

All I did was bump up the RAM to 2GB, didn’t bother with the hard drive.

Now to see about updating to the latest version of the Mac OSX and seeing what all the hub-bub is about. Perhaps I can teach myself the mystical ways of the Mac. That would allow me to change my entire wardrobe to black, take up smoking clove cigarettes, and laughing at all the simpletons in the world….well I already do the last part, so I’m one third of the way there already!! :-p

After that, the next step is to see how hard it would be to turn it into a home media server.

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I’m a sucker for a good trailer. Not actual gameplay mind you, and there is already ramblings of a hype machine that is out of control, but should this work….well, you know me. 😉

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Autoloader Fun

I don’t speak about work much, mostly due to the fear of getting dooced.

I figure, however, that if I speak vaguely and not rant about anything I should be alright. Also, this small post revolves around a piece of technology that I happen to use at work. Safe harbor? Maybe.

On Wednesday of this week my Dell Tape Autoloader decided that it has had about enough of this ‘working for a living’ garbage and quit. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize it had decided to quit and join the circus until Thursday when I went over my daily backup log email. So I walk into the room only to find that it has had a “mechanical error”. I put that in quotes due to the fact that the ACTUAL error code was red LED and a cryptic set of numbers that I had to scour the internet to find meaning for. /Begin Tangent – Anyone else notice that there is SO much information out there in a myriad of forms and hierarchies that it is HARDER to find the exact answers then it used to be? /End Tangent.

Moving on….after trying the good old fashioned technology fix (turn on/off) to no avail, I began to look up the Service Tag for tech support service. Lo and behold, the warranty for this device had expired in September of 2008. Oh JOY!!

I called tech support anyways, and began working with the Dell tech (based out of Round Rock, TX and speaking ENGLISH!!!). He informed me that he could help me even though the warranty had expired, but if I required replacement hardware that I would need to get a new service contract. I had already put those gears and cogs into motion and all I was waiting for was the approval.

Since I was out of warranty at that point, he had me open the device and see if any of the trays had ‘jumped the track’. An autoloader basically works by having the actual drive in the center of the device and the tapes rotating in cages around in a carousel manner. So if one of these cages was off the track, the thing throws a “mechanical error”. To me everything looked good, so after a few more tests and about 3 minutes of false hope, a new device was ordered for me.

It arrived around noon today and I had it mounted in the rack within a few moments. Only thing left to do was plug it into the server and make sure everybody was talking to each other. I’m not gonna bore you with all the technical stuff…but the process seemed daunting. This was partially due to the fact that we use an old version of backup software AND their documentation is atrociously setup. (Side Note: Yes Phil, I know about Volume Shadow Copy! There is a plan in the works to goto DPM for all our offices, but until then it’s tapes for me!!)

Come to find out, one server restart, a few right clicks, a couple of auto configures, and one inventory job later….I’m looking good to go.

Here’s to hoping the thing works and I don’t have to do this all over again on Monday!

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Birthday Present

Even thought the Wife….frowns….on my little habit, she still seems to feed it. Case in point, this gift that she got for me for my birthday.

Here is a blog posts on its use:

Big Red Kitty and the G13

Looking forward to setting this up and getting to use it.

So a big thanks to the Wife, I know she loves me A LOT!!! 😉

Next on my list…..This Thing!!! 😉