Monthly Archives: September 2008

Affordable hosted e-mail solution

I came across FuseMail in my search for an outbound SMTP relay solution and really like its many features and small business focus.  For home users who need more than just pop mail, this would also be a great solution.  Check out their website for more information.  For only $2 per mailbox per month, its a great deal and feature rich.

Tampa International Airport ranked in the top 10 in the U.S.

Tampa residents know that they have a great airport, especially if you have exposure to other airports to compare it to.  I love it because of the easy design, quick security process, and convenient layout.  Check out these results for the top 10 airports in the country.

Portland 51.6
Tampa 51.4
Washington Reagan 47.1
Milwaukee 42.4
Orlando 39.5
Minneapolis-St. Paul 39.0
Long Beach 38.0
Salt Lake City 37.8
Pittsburgh 37.7
San Diego 37.3

Migrate DHCP servers on Widnows Server 2003

This is not ground breaking information, but someone may find it helpful.  If you want to migrate a Microsoft DHCP database from one Windows 2003 server to another, you may be surprised to find that the backup/restore feature doesn’t work.  I don’t know why this is included if it won’t work, but its there.  If you want to successfully migrate DHCP to another server just do the following:

1. Authorize the new DHCP Server in AD through the DHCP MMC
2. From the command prompt on the old DHCP Server, run the following: “netsh dhcp server export C:dhcp.txt all”
3. Copy the resulting export file to the new DHCP Server
4. From the command prompt on the new DHCP Server, run the following: “netsh dhcp server import c:dhcp.txt all”

Refresh your MMC view to see the imported settings.  You will notice that everything including leases are migrated over successfully.  Verify your settings and thats it!

Going on a trip to Jamaica!

My wife and I have been trying to make plans for our 10th annaversary for several weeks now.  Its been hard for us to really decide on anything for sure since we didn’t have our passports and have never gone anywhere outside the continental U.S.  But today we did it, we decided on a destination and made arrangements for our trip.  We will be going to Ochos Rios Jamaica to the Sandals Ochos Rios Grande All Inclusive Resort and Spa.  We went a little over budget for this trip, but there were a few things (as there always are) that we didn’t expect when planning the trip.  It turned out the flights were more expensive when you select reasonable flight times and then add on the trip insurance and woooops…  But oh well, its our 10th annaversary and we should splurge a little to celebrate. 

It did take quite some time to decide on a destination because we wanted to stay somewhere nice, but wasn’t unreasonably expensive.  Not just that but we actually want to get around and see the area and take some excursions.  Right now I’m thinking about taking the ATV safari and the canopy safari which is a rope walk through the tree tops of the jungle and they hint about some rope swinging which sounds like fun.  Throw in some time to relax at the pools and the beach, and there you have a nice little getaway.  We choose this particular resort due to a combination of factors such as price, room availability, reviews, resort features, local excursions, and more.  We will be sure to take lots of pictures and post reviews of the resort once we return.

Screenshot - 9_18_2008 , 4_37_41 PM

Overlooked tool for Windows – SyncToy

I have never met anyone else who actually uses this tool, but I find it very useful.  I’m talking about the Microsoft SyncToy 2.0.  This is a great little utility, its easy to configure and use and really is a set it and forget it utility.  I use this at work to sync my local documents, favorites, outlook PST files, etc, with the office File Server.  At home, I use this for keeping my itunes library synched between two computers.  This is a very versatile tool and if you think that you could use a file synchronization tool and prefer a free solution, check out the Microsoft SyncToy 2.0 and give it a try.

How to record "What you hear" in Windows Vista

Recently I had a need to record the stereo mix or “What you hear” sound output from Windows Vista.  I used to be able to do this in Windows XP without a problem.  I prefer Adobe Audition for all my sound/audio mixing, and every time I’ve tried to get this to work since installing Vista several months ago, it just hasn’t worked.  I never really put any time into figuring this out until recently.  I stubmled upon this link to downloadsquad which had a great blog post with screenshots on how to re-enable the stereo mix channel in Vista.  I guess Microsoft decided people didn’t need this feature in Vista and just disabled it by default in Vista on purpose. 

Once I followed the instructions in the link above, I was able to configure Audition and Audacity to use the “Stereo Mix” channel and set my input levels.  I tested everything out and it works great.  One thing I think is a little strange is that the audio levels seem amplified quite a bit, possibly due to the default level for the stereo mix channel being set to 23 (I think).  Reducing this to zero may alleviate this, but I found it just as easy to reduce the volume levels in Windows or in the media player being used to get around this. 

High price of text messaging

I use at&t for my wireless provider and recently needed to add a text messaging plan to my account.  I did this for various reasons, such as keeping in touch with one of my brothers, and getting customized alerts on my phone from other providers.  What I didn’t like was the cost structure, I currently pay about $5 a month for a 200 text message plan.  Normally this would have been enough for me, but this month I am coming very close to going over my 200 messages.  I checked into upgrading my text messaging plan and I was shocked to find that the next plan up is a $15 as month 1500 txt message plan.  This is way overkill for me, and way over priced!  I will probably use around or a little over 200 text messages per month, so a 500 txt messaeg plan would be perfect for me, but there is no way I want to spend an additional $15 a month just for text messaging!  To get around this I could use e-mail to text but that is not as nicely formatted and could cost the person I am texting with some extra $$. 

Today I found this article detailing a Senate inquiry demanding information from wireless carriers why text messaging is so expensive.  It seems to me that they lure you in with the 20 minute plan, which once you get using you quickly find is not enough, then to upgrade they sucker you into spending an additional $10 over what you already pay for a higher plan which is likely to be more than you need unless you are a power texter…

I would be very pleased if the wireless carriers would offer more text messaging plans at more reasonable prices. 

Strange Power Outage

The power is out at my home right now, which is strange since its not really storming and nothing seems to be gonig on.  I called TECO to report the issue and they said that they are aware of it and will have the power restored by 5:30pm.  This is the first time since we’ve lived here that we’ve had a power outage for this long before.  Its a good exercise though, since it will give Liz and the kids a chance to find all the emergency flashlights and practice what to do when the power goes out.  It is also helpful in testing my UPS units at the house.  It was obvious that the UPS units in my server closet are in need of being replaced with better units, as that was the first UPS to go down.  I got maybe 2 mintues out of it.  The UPS connected to our big comptuer stayed up for probably 5 or more minutes.  I have a larger UPS in my cabinet under the TV which I plan to move to the server closet to provide better uptime.  I don’t really need it connected to the TV anymore since I no longer have a PC over there.  And if I do put a hard drive in my Popcornhour unit, I can always put one of those small UPS units on it for small protection.  Hopefully the power will come back on soon and everything should come back online on its own.

Just my luck – missed popcorn hour cut-off time

Last night I checked on my order for the popcornhour A-110.  I pre-ordered mine on Aug 10th and its still not here.  According to the forums on their website my order just barely missed the order cut-off time to be shipped in the batch for Sept 10th and 11th.  It seems my order will not ship until around Sept 20th, and then probably take at least another week to be delivered.  So I’m looking at the very end of Sept or early October before I ever get mine.  6–8 weeks to delviery from the time I placed the order, despite the forums saying it takes 3–4 weeks for delivery… NICE!

Annoyance in WordPress – automatic plugin upgrade

One of the nice features of wordpress is the ability to upgrade plugins fairly easile and now in an automated way since WordPress 2.6 came out.  However, ever since I’ve been using it, there have occasionally been instances where I’ve tried to upgrade a plugin using the automatic method and something goes wrong.  Usually the process will de-activate the plugin in question and sometimes even deletes the original files, download the new source, and fail on activating.  What this leaves me with is a missing plugin that I then have to browse for (If I can remember which one it was), and then re-install manually.  It doesn’t happen every single time, but enough that its annoying.  Just thought I’d vent a little… 🙂