Blog Archives

Free Active Directory Reporting Tool

This should come in handy for lots of people.  Need to get some reports out of your Active Directory system?  Then this tool can help, its a called SmartR from Imanami, and its free.  There are additional report packs you could buy, but I’ve found it comes with just about everything I would need. It has a good wizard interface and can generate nicely formatted reports in a flash.  Output options are HTMl, XLS and XML. 

I needed to generate a report of all my AD users and find which groups they belonged to.  To be more specific, I was trying to get a list of all our Distribution lists and find out who was in each one.  I was able to accomplish both reports quickly and easily with this tool.

Geeky Wedding Cakes

I was stumbling around and came across this link, for geeky wedding cakes.  I just wish I had thought about this and used one at my wedding…  Although I was just getting into geekdom at that time…

Have fun destroying any website

I came across this link over the weekend, and it lets you have a lot of fun destroying any website you choose.  I like the demonstration and mars attacks.  Give it a try for a quick chuckle.

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Better fitness

On Saturday I joined a local fitness club.  I have been entertaining the idea of getting a membership to a fitness club for a while now, but when I started out looking for one, I didn’t want one of those professional performance places where its a bunch of hulk hogans running around and all that.  So I found a family oriented club and went to check it out on Saturday morning.  I was a little intimidated by the size of the place, but once the manager started showing me around, it was really quite nice.  Everyone was friendly and they offer a lot of cool programs that come as part of the membership.  It is a bit expensive, but my plan is to stick with the club for about a year, get myself in better shape and then try to get some equipment that I can use to maintain my fitness level at home.  I need to go at least 3 times a week which is going to be tough with my schedule.  I realize that if I am going to do this, its going to cost something besides money, and that is my family time.  I’m going to have to go at night twice a week and once on Saturday morning. 

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Communicator 2007 custom presence tool

I just came across this artile about a tool that automates the little known feature of custom presence in Communicator 2007.  Those of you familiar with other IM platforms will appreciate the incorporation of this feature in Communicator 2007.  Although as nice as this is, tell me Microsoft…why aren’t you building this into the GUI in the first place?

My IT Annaversary

I didn’t realize it until recently, but 2008 marks my 10th annaversary being in the IT industry.  It just kind of snuck up on me really, but when someone asked me how long I’ve been doing what I do, I had to count twice to verify it has been 10 years. 

I’m not quite sure yet how I would envision the next 10 years, since technology changes so rapidly.  I will probably slow down a bit one day soon and try to map out some plans for the coming years. 

It was 10 years ago now that I got my first IT job, a lowly rebate programming position using PICK.  From there what I consider to be a real IT position came along where I worked kind of like an apprentice for a local IT services shop.  I learend a lot from the other techs and eventually became the technician of choice for several clients.  I went on to work for state and local government and to obtain my certifications in 2004 after about 6 years in the field. 

My Pick for screen recording

I have tried several software packages to do screen recording, and I must say that my favorite by far is Camtasia studio by TechSmith.  Their software is visually appealing with a modern and intuitive interface.  It also outputs your projects in a variety of configurable formats and makes your work look very professional.  Several neat features I enjoy are smart focus and a neat little mouse trick.  With Smart focus, the video can zoom and pan as you move your mouse around while recording, this way the viewers get a close up view of what you are doing and you are not wasting as much viewing space with unused area on your desktop.  I also like the feature of using the hotkeys to pause recording so you can make changes or do other tasks, and when you un-pause, the mouse is returned exactly to where it was when you paused the recording, eliminating the annoying mouse jumps you get in many other packages. 

Its not free, and in fact is one of the most expensive solutions I looked at.  But the user experience is ver good and the output is the best I’ve seen in screen recording packages.  This is a great tool for many professions and specific tasks, but particularly useful in IT as you can record tutorials or how-to videos with ease, and make them very easily viewable and portable!

LCARS24 – GUI replacement

For those of us who are Star Trek fans and like to tinker with LCARS software, check out LCARS24, can run on any Windows PC, and turns it into a LCARS interface. 

New spam appliance from Sunbelt Software

I came across this article in the Ninja newsgroups, and was pleased to see that Sunbelt now has a spam appliance called Ninja Blade.  It sounds fantastic and let me tell you, if I had the extra cash to spend $2000 on spam filtering for two people, I’d buy it!  While I have not tried this system out, I can tell you that its probably going to be a huge success.  I checked out the demo admin interface and its especially good for a brand new product.  They will be adding all the “bells and whistles” to it as it matures, but I was very impressed with the features in its initial release.

My Favorite RSS readers

I actually have two favorite RSS readers.  Both are now free!  Check them out and feel free to leave feedback with your opinion. 

1. NewsDemon – Newsdemon was raved about on “The ScreenSavers” TV show and has many loyal users.  I loved the trial I had a while back of a previous version and quit using it because it wasn’t free.  I didn’t want to pay money for an RSS reader when even at the time there were some decent free readers out there.  Now that NewsDemon has been released for free, I’m definately switching back!

 

2. Attensa – this is also a very nice enterprise grade RSS reader.  I have been using this for over a year and love it.  It has some nice features that NewsDemon does not have and integrates very nicely into Outlook.  Definately check this one out as well and compare the two for yourself.