Blog Archives

Microsoft support and the BSOD

I was on a call to Microsoft support today for an issue with Communication server 2007.  During the initial steps of the support call when the technician was trying to setup the Easy Assist session, his computer started a memory dump with a BSOD.  He had to jump to another machine while rebooting the now inoperable computer.  He apologized politely, but it was no big thing for me, I actually got a kick out of it.  It also helped that the Guy (Hi Patrick), was a BSG fan and we chatted a little about the upcoming Season 4 of Battlestar Galactica

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review – at&t TILT

I have had the TILT with at&t for about a week now. I have to say this is the best phone I have used to date. Here are some highlights of why I like this device..

1. Its sleek and visually cool looking, coloring is modern and glossy.

2. The weight of the phone is indicative of being well built, it feels sturdy and tough.

3. It has plenty of onboard memory; you can customize the device, install apps and have plenty of onboard memory left without the need of a storage card.

4. Onboard GPS radio is neat; this is my first phone with true onboard GPS. A perk is that both Google maps and windows live search work with the onboard GPS radio for free.

5. The speed of this device to a data network is amazing. Over HSDPA I can download at nearly 1mbps which is not bad, although this connection is theoretically capable of much faster sped, but it’s still way better than EDGE!

6. You can use this device as a wireless modem, so when you travel or go somewhere that doesn’t offer free internet access, you can connect over Bluetooth to a laptop and get on the internet for free using your phone’s data plan.

7. Windows mobile 6 pro seems much more stable and visually attractive.

8. Battery life is not bad, in one day I am only using less than 50% of the battery with normal to light usage.

9. You can be on the phone and receive e-mail and use the data connection at the same time. No longer does using the phone disable all other radios on the device. You can now get important e-mail while talking on the phone.

10. Mobility! I can browse the web, make a blog post, track my position with GPS, take pictures, connect to wifi, use bluetooth devices, conect to VPN, run Citrix applications and sooooo much more, all while on the go.

There is more I will post about this device later, but those are the main points…

Computer System upgrades

This weekend I will be doing some computer system upgrades to my home computer systems. Not all of this will be accomplished this weekend, but the following is a list of items I plan to take care of starting today and finishing by mid week next week.

1. Install new memory into main computer, this is 2GB of DDR800 PC6400 DDR2 high performance RAM. Replacing another set of high performance RAM that never did work well with my motherboard, and was only 1GB.

2. Install upgraded CPU for the main computer. Installing new Intel P4 D 3GHz Dual-Core processor, replacing older 3.2GHz HT P4 processor. Slightly less MHz than the old processor, but provides dual-core support and better performance for Vista when we do that upgrade.

3. Install new Processor for the multimedia computer. Installing new AMD Athlon 64 2.4GHz CPU to replace the AMD Semperon 1.8GHz (mobile) chip that is currently in the unit.

4. Install new server computer. I will be adding a Dell Optiplex GX260 SFF desktop class machine as a server to my home network. This will end up powering Active Directory, DNS, DHCP and some other services on my home network. This will replace older and very slow compaq desktop that is on its last leg. This is a 2.4GHz P4, 512MB RAM, 20GB hard drive system, its small, cool and quiet. Perfect for my “server closet”.

In addition, the following upgrades are planned for the coming months…

1. Upgrade existing home photo printer. Currently have HP PhotoSmart 7550. Will be selling this on ebay to purchase new photo printer.

2. Upgrade existing LCD Flat panel monitor. Will be selling existing unit to purchase a new better model, at least 19″.

Crazy trip to the store

On Tuesday night, I was driving home when I get a call from Liz. She sounds irritated and explains that in an act of clumbsiness while in the kids in the kitchen, she accidently knocked over the box of shells (pasta) that she was prepairing for dinner, and they spilled all over the floor. She asked me if I could run to the store and pickup a box of shells. At this point it was 6pm, and the meal she was wanting to make takes an hour to complete. I tried to talk her into doing something else, but she refused and insisted she needed a box of shells. I reluctantly agreed and stopped by a local store on the way home. I went in and grabbed some banannas too since we needed those, this was in an attempt to increase the amount of money I’d spend at checkout, since I hate coming up to a register and the amount being like a dollor or so, and having to use my debit card since I don’t carry cash.

I should explain at this point that the other day I got tired of my wallett staining my pants and being uncomfortable in general (since I sit at a desk most of the day). So I took my wallett out of my back pocket and put it in my laptop case. Those of you who know me, also know that my memory isn’t so good.

I go into the store and grab the items I need, also grabbed a little something for the kids (ok and me too), and headed to the checkout. I put my items on the belt and reached for my wallett and was horrified to find it missing. I frantically put back the items I had picked out and went out to my car empty handed. I did however spent about 15 minutes in the store looking around and arguing with Liz on the phone about what kind of shells to get. But left with nothing.

I get home and fully expect to have an arguement about what had happened and Liz would rush out to the store to get what she needs on her own, etc, etc. It was not a pretty picture I had predicted would take place. I get home and she meets me at the door with a kiss and is perfectly calm. She had talked to my mom and had decided to do this meal another day. We had something else and it was no big deal. I was totally surprised that she was not going to push it and it actually turned out really nicely, except that I had to put back my cocoa rice crispies I was drueling over at the checkout lane… 🙂

Movie Review – The Final Cut

I got this movie from Netflix called “The Final Cut” starring Robin Williams. Its kind of a sci-fi movie, but actually more drama than anything. Williams plays a “cutter” who is basically a high tech audio/video guy who works to put together “rememberings” for deceased people who had this computer chip in their brains that recorded everything they saw and heard. He took the “bad” out and put together memories for family members and let them remember what they wanted to remember of the person who had died. Well he is the guy everyone goes to when no one else wants to the job because of how bad a person was. Williams character is tortured by guilt from a childhood memory shown in the beginning of the movie where apparently another kid dies basically because of his (Williams character’s) actions. He finds out that he actually has a chip in his brain (which is against the code of the cutters). So he quits doing that, and has a friend try to replay his memories while he is sitll alive. He finds that his childhood memory was tainted by age and inaccuracy and that the boy he thought had died actually lived. One of his high profile cases was for a lawyer in the company that makes these chips, and there is a group wanting to bring down this company. They end up trying to get the chip from Williams character and it ends up getting destroyed. However, Williams character (Allan) has watched the footage of this persons life and all this information is now stored in his chip. So the bad guy chases him down and tells him he wants to get the data from his brain. The bad guy can’t quite bring himself to shoot Allan, so his accomplice shoots him suddenly and to your surprise right at the end. The movie pretty much ends there, with a final scene of the bad guy looking through Allan’s memories and tell him (actually his reflection in the mirror) that his life will have purpose and that it won’t all be for nothing.

The movie was ok, but the ending sucks. Its almost like they were trying to prepare for a sequel, but I don’t think thats the point. I just don’t like movies with no closure. The bad guy pretty much got away with his acts of badness, and the movie just ends there. I probably would not have watched it if I had known this, but it was ok. Not something I’ll watch a second time. Cool idea with the brain chip thing, but it was kind of slow, no real action and low on the drama side. And the ending stinks.

How many bits?

In an episode of Star Trek the Next Generation, Data reveals that he has a total memory capacity of 400 quadrillion bits. This spisode is entitled, “Measure of a Man”. I just had this random thought today, and googled the math to find that 400 quadrillion bits = 46 566 128.7 gigabytes which is a LOT of space! Over 46.5 million GB! Now thats some nice storage space. That also equates to 45 474.7351 terabytes.

Computer problems

Sometimes even us computer professionals make really dumb mistakes on our computers. I was downloading some software last night and messing around a bit, when I opened something I knew I shouldn’t have. I had some zip files on my desktop that I had downloaded and when I tried to open them (without first scanning them for viruses) they just said the archive was damaged. But I could extract them with winrar. So I figured I just did something bad! I was adding and removing software from the PC, when I had to reboot. After the reboot, Windows would load to a blue screen waiting to open the logon box, but instead I just got STOP errors and Winlogon would crash and do a memory dump. So I stayed up till about 11:30 working on it, trying to get it working before Liz got home so she would have her PC today. I was never able to get it working and even tried some live linux CDs just to get her something to use. No luck! So I am going to try a different tool tonight to see if I can get to the system restore feature of Windows XP (since not even Safe Mode will work). If that works it makes it easier for me to backup and then re-load everything, but either way, it looks I’ll spend my weekend re-loading our PC again! I seem to be doing that more and more frequently lately. I wish I had a nice powerful server I could run Virtual server 2005 on, then I could just setup a virtual PC for all my downloading and testing, then it wouldn’t screw up my PC! I think I may also start making routine backups with ghost or something like that once I get it back up and running. I get the feeling that I need to do some hardware swapping too, since the machine seems so slow. Its got good stuff in it, but its just not as fast as it used to be. I could probably use a new hard drive, memory and motherboard. We use our computers a lot, and they run almost all the time, so things do tend to wear out!

Windows Mobile 5 and ActiveSync issue

0X80070008
Out of memory
This can happen when you have set up ActiveSync to sync automatically over frequent intervals, and then you attempt to perform a manual sync. It occurs because the device thinks it is out of memory. Try these steps:
Perform a
soft reset. Then attempt to sync.
If that didn't work, check available memory: Press Start and select Settings. On the System tab, select Memory. If the amount of Free memory is very small, you may need to
delete add-on applications or purge old photos, videos or other large files to free up more space on your device.

It happns without warning and I can only tell its happening when I realize I haven't gotten any e-mail in pocket Outlook lately. When I check the ActiveSync screen I can see the view status link which shows me the above error. I have plenty of memory left, about 30MB total and I have a 1GB SD Card too. I haven't been able to figure out how to stop the errors, but a soft reset resolves it for a few days at a time.]]>

Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Its the name of a family of bacteria that has caused my poor little family a fair share of discomfort. Liz and the girls have been dealing with folliculitis, which was caused by this bacteria. We thought it might be chickenpox at first, but were releived to find out it was just an infection. Liz has a severe case of it, and is taking an antibiotic for it. Hopefully in a week or so it will be a distant memory. Amazing how the smallest little germs can cause such large problems in people.

Tech: Another Disaster

Once again I found myself in a terrible case of IT disaster. Last Friday night I was working on some Exchange maintenance with another sysadmin from my company. We each took two of our Exchange servers and did some work. Two servers (the ones I was working with were in the US, the other two were in other countries). Once we were done, we rebooted the Exchange servers and were pleased that they seemed to come back online and mail started flowing again. However, I quickly noticed that one server in particular, (one of mine of course), was not back online yet. I couldn’t ping it, couldn’t browse to it, nothing, it was dead to the world. Desperately I started making phone calls, no one could make it to the office until the next afternoon. I tried resetting the power ports that server was supposed to be connected to on the UPS in this remote office. Nothing worked. The next day, staff from the remote office were able to determine that the problem was a fatal SCSI controller error. Aparently a memory controller board on the SCSI controller had gone bad. This card was replaced with a spare from a retired server and that fixed the issue. The server is now back online after almost 24 hours of downtime. What a mess! I was so stressed over this I could hardly stand it. I feel much better now that the server is back up!