Blog Archives

Pasting links from OWA

I deal with Good support now and then for various technical issues with their mobile e-mail solution (Goodlink).  Today it appears they sent out a survey request to all of their customers, but I had to chuckle a little when I read the message and found they had pasted in the survey link through OWA.  If you read below, you will find the actual URL is missing the first h in the (http), and the actual linked URL is an Exchange OWA redirect link.  This happens when you copy a link from OWA and paste into another message.  By default in OWA, links point to the Exchange redirector and then take you to the link specified at the end of the redirect URL. 

I run into this issue myself from time to time and forget about this until I get a reply back to something I sent out with a complaint that the URL I sent does not work.  To get around I usually paste the link into notepad so I Can get a plain text copy of the link, and then I remove the Exchange redirector part.  I then paste in the plain text link which most e-mail programs and even OWA convert to a hyperlink automatically for you. 

I’m not trying to gripe about this flub, but find it humorous that such a mistake can be made by anyone and its nice to know I’m not the only person out there who forgets about this from time to time and sends out links that don’t work.  Now naturally a technically apt person could easily extract the correct link and get where they need to go, but the average person is going to reply and complain that you sent them a bad link.  Not just that, but now we all have the OWA logon link to their Exchange mailboxes.  (Don’t worry Good (motorola), I’ve hidden the actual OWA Link for your privacy) 🙂  (NOTE: I did receive a correction email from them shortly after receiving the message below).

Dear Valued Motorola Good Technology Group Customer:

Thank you for your recent inquiry into our support team. We appreciate the opportunity to serve you, and help you and your company meet your mobile messaging needs. To gauge the level of support you, and other customers are receiving, and to better understand where our strengths and weakness are, we are asking for your help.

By clicking on the following link and taking a brief six question survey, you will help us gauge the level of support we are providing our customers. This will allow us to know where our strengths are, and where we need improvement:

ttp://www.zoomerang.com/recipient/survey-intro.zgi?p=maskedsurveyidforprivacy <https://nosy.notmotorola.com/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.zoomerang.com/recipient/survey-intro.zgi?p=maskedsurveyidforprivacy>

Please spend the two minutes it will take to respond to the survey questions so we will know how to better serve you in the future.

Sincerely,

The Good Technology Group Technical Support Team

Home media management

I came across this software over the weekend: Media Center 12

Its a really nice media management package that has all the features I was looking for.  It can catalog my media including pictures, audio and video.  It can create various types of playlists, and even has a theatre mode for easy use on the PC or a TV.  You can even run a media web server and use it as a remote control for the media center and play audio/video or slideshows by clicking links on the web interface, what you select starts playing on the display connected to the server.  I really like this package, its got some good plugins and skins and is the best one I’ve tried yet. 

Using local GPO templates in Windows Vista

One of the things I found tricky about switching to Windows Vista was setting up local GPO Settings.  I opened gpedit.msc and was intentionally trying to add a .adm file for Office Communicator 2007.  I tried everything I knew how to get the .adm file to show up in gpedit, but I couldn’t figure it out.  I tried copying the communicator.adm file to C:windowsinf and C:WindowsPolicy Files and nothing worked.  I even ran across an article on converting .adm files to .admx format for Windows Vista using the ADMX Migrator.  When I tried to convert the file, I got 126 errors and decided that this may not be the way to go.  Finally I found an article on how to add the legacy file format and get the job done.  Its actually already capable of loading the legacy .adm file locally, and here is how to do it…

1. Open gpedit.msc
2. Expand either computer configuration or user configuration
3. Right-click on the Administrative Templates folder and select “Add/remove templates”.
4. Browse for the .adm file you wish to load and select it for opening.

You now have the .adm file loaded and you can then make changes and configure the policy settings.  Also I’d suggest turning off the User Access control option (under control panel > User Accounts) so that you don’t have 500 prompts from Vista asking if you are sure you want to do stuff.  How annoying!  🙂

Finally! – NEW Pictures!

After more than 5 months of slacking, I’ve managed to sort through tons of pictures and come up with the best ones for uploading to our family picture gallery. So for those of you who’ve been waiting and asking when new pcitures would be available, here you go!!! Find all the new pictures at our picture gallery.

My year of Hell in 4 days

There is a Star Trek Voyager episode entitled “Year of Hell”. Its about a span of 365 days in the life of the crew where pretty much anything that could go wrong, goes go wrong and I think they barely survive (its been a while since I’ve seen it). Well, over the last 4 days, I’ve had my year of Hell starting from Friday night to yesterday around 6:30pm. I’ll summarize:

1. Friday night, I installed DST patches

a. DST patch caused a problem where my info stores would not
mount in Exchange 2003
b. The DST patches also broke the goodlink system for mobile e-mail
c. Turned out that MS had changed the way the permissions work in
Exchange and AD and we had to re-set the permissions on our
GoodAdmin account
c. Spent up until 11:30pm working on the DST patches and fixing the
goodlink account while on the phone with Good support

2. Saturday – all day

a. Checked the server from previous night to ensure everything is
still working
b. Found everything to still not be working.
c. Found some objects in Exchange 2003 were not
inherriting permissions correctly. Had to continue
resetting permissions for those items and testing.
d. Continued working with Good support and testing and finally got the
Goodlink mobile e-mail working
e. Had to follow a workaround by allowing inherritance on the
AdminSDHolder AD object and allowing time for replication
f. Spent the rest of the day testing the mobile e-mail system paranoid
that it would fail again.
g. Abby got sick Friday night, so I got maybe 2 hours of sleep Friday
night and Sat Morning

3. Sunday – all morning

a. Continued testing the mobile e-mail system, all tests were working
ok, external and internal.
b. I stayed home with Abby all day to take care of her, she was really
sick and had a very high fever.
c. Got my first almost full night of sleep, since Liz was kind enough to
stay in the living room with Abby

4. Monday – All DAY!!!

a. Started getting complaints that people couldn’t open some e-mail
messages in Outlook
b. Got some reports that people were missing e-mails, that the volume
of messages received over the weekend and morning were very low
c. To make it more frustrating, all the external tests and internal tests
I was doing were working fine
d. Checked the mail queues in Exchange 2003 and found hundreds of
queued messages, they were stuck in the MTA queue
e. Nothing I tried would release the messages
f. I called Microsoft and paid my $245 fee for support, and spent about
8 hours on the phone with 2 separate Microsoft engineers.
g. Once I got through to the escalation engineer, we got the issue fixed
within 3 hours or so.
h. Turned out that MS had made two code changes to alter the way
Exchange does recipient and sender address formatting or lookups.
i. The quick fix was to uninstall patch 930241. So I did, and that
restored functionality completely, for both symptoms.
j. I also worked with MS to run some store traces to try to
identify the issue.
k. After some minor permissions adjustments for two servers who were
still not inherriting permissions correctly, everything started to
work normally.
l. I did NOT have lunch this day, nor anything to drink. I was on the
phone all day!
m. At 6:35pm I finally left the office and went home and crashed!

So as you can see, thanks to Congress for screwing around with the Daylight saving configuration and thanks to Microsoft for making some code changes that had unexpected side effects, I ended up having a very bad few days indeed. I really didn’t get a weekend, no break, barely any sleep. Its going to take me a while to recover from that. I need a vacation! Sarah has off all next week for spring break, I’m thinking of asking for next Wednesday off to break up the work week and give myself a break.

Making fun of Miata's

There are lots of people that if they hear you own a Miata, will instantly make fun of you . These are people who are not educated “automotive” people, but usually people who have never driven a Miata. Typical things that get made fun of is the size of the car, the size of the driver compared to the car, etc. Also people thing because its so small and has a 4 cylendar engine that its weak and a “Girly” car. All I can say in response of this balogna is that you gotta drive it before you make fun of it. Let me take around a few onramps at 70MPh in near 75 degree turns. You’ll see how the Miata handles the corners with no slippage and hugs the road like the little roadster she is. Don’t let the convertible top fool you either, a soft top is fantastic, and extremely relaxing, put it down during your drive home from work, and it makes all your worries disappear. Basically, at least ride shotgun with someone who can really drive the car as it was meant to be driven, and you’ll be asking for the keys soon enough. Appearances can be deceiving, be careful when making fun of a poor little Miata, you may find they are not as “girly” as you think!

Miatas are used in autocrossing heavily, and lots of people are using their Miatas in drifting. These are not a “girly” car, and its the BEST Selling sports car EVER according to many studies and reports.

Reforming Daylight Savings Time

I came across this amusing article a long time ago actually, it has an interesting take on Daylight Savings time:

———-

It happens every spring: crocuses, baseball (with any luck), and the switch to Daylight Savings Time (DST).

Coming off DST is not hard. In the Fall, we set our clocks back one hour. We all get an extra hour to sleep, and those who forget find themselves at church, or the airport, or wherever an hour early. Embarassing, but not catastrophic.

But in the Spring we set the clocks forward, and the trouble begins. We lose an hour of sleep. Forgetful people miss Mass, planes, breakfast, and the big game on TV. Some are thrown into disarray for up to a full week. Annual losses due to DST confusion have been estimated (by me) at over a million dollars. I myself have missed a flight to Washington and a showing of The Seven Samurai because of DST.

There is no need for such tragic waste. We can – we should and must – urge our lawmakers to reform Daylight Savings Time as follows: Setting clocks back is easy; setting them forward is difficult. Therefore, let us keep the fall ritual as it is. However, one Sunday each Spring, let us set our clocks not one hour forward, but TWENTY-THREE HOURS BACKWARD.

Think of all the advantages. We will not lose an hour of sleep; we will gain (almost) a day of rest. It will be Saturday all over again. You will never again miss Confession, or an airplane, or the Redskins game.

Naturally, if this were the whole plan, our calendars would fall behind one day in each year. However, the second part of the Revised DST Plan deals with this. Every four years, instead of adding a day, let us SUBTRACT THREE DAYS. Furthermore, let these be Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, which according to recent polls are the least popular days.

If done in February, which seems reasonable considering what a miserable month it is, this would have the beneficial side effect of shortening the excruciating presidential primary season by an effective four days.

The advantages of this plan are clear. Let us waste no time. With a determined effort we can have Reformed Daylight Savings Time by Spring of next year.

Write your congressperson today!

My arms fall asleep

This happens to me somewhat frequently, maybe twice a month. My arm(s) fall asleep while I’m sleeping. I came across this statement today written by doctors. Very interesting stuff!

“Experiments have shown that your skin feels numb about 13-15 minutes after the blood flow is arrested, and that all sensation, except for pain, is gone after about 18 minutes. Muscular weakness begins at about 25 minutes, and paralysis sets in after 30 minutes. If you wake up with an “asleep” arm that you are unable to move, that means the circulation has been cut off for at least 30 minutes.

My poor arm(s), I’m starving it for over 30 minutes!!!

My amazing handyman abilities!

When we bought our house the existing dishwasher was tested and found to work. Upon moving in, we found out that the test that was run on the dishwasher was the last time it would run. So we were in need of a new dishwasher. Unfortunately, none of the nearby home improvement places had any reasonable prices for a new dishwasher. So Liz got on the computer and checked craigslist and freecycle. She found an ad on freecycle for a like new dishwasher and sent an e-mail asking about it. We ended up getting it and as soon as I got home last night I went to pick it up. I single handedly lifted the monstros beast into the back of the van and proceeded on my way home to install it.

I’d like to say that when I got home I unloaded it and immediately began to install it. I disconnected the old one and easily connected the new dishwasher and found no problems. I did it all by myself and with no external assistance. Thats what I’d like to say. The truth is that I had to call Ray (my handly master plummer father-in-law), on several (ok – many) issues I encountered. First, I didn’t see how the water line on the old dishwasher would connect to the new one. Then I didn’t see how the drain hose would work with the new one. Then I realized I had to hand wire the electrical leads to power the thing. Ray calmly opened my eyes to the simplistic answers to all my questions and with a good understanding of how it all works, I got to work. I was able to get the old one out with relatively no problems. Although my kitchen floor got quite a bath as there were several inches of water that was stuck inside the old dishwasher. Then the power cord got wraped around one of the legs and Liz had to help me get it off while I lifted the unit off the floor. Out to the front porch it went and is where it still sits. We’ll probably list it on freecycle or dispose of it through the county.

Ok now the fun part. I started to connect the new dishwasher to the electric, water and drain. First, I decided to attach the copper adapter needed to connect the water line to the new dishwasher. I was doing good until the last 1/2 turn of the adapter when I heard a loud “Snap”. Turns out I broke the electric valve that controlls the water intake to the dishwasher. I tried to be McGuyver and used duct tape to seal it back together, but this didn’t do much to hold back the flood waters that came out of the water line when I opened the valve under the sink. Liz and I ordered a new intake valve online lat night. Actually she found it online and found the best price for it while I was watching Heroes on TV.

So we have a dishwasher now that didn’t cost us anything, its in good shape, and the only cost so far is the price of the new intake valve that we have to get because I don’t know my own strength. Ok, because I was foolishly holding onto the wrong area of the valve while turning on the copper line adapter with my wrench. 🙂

This all reminds me of another story. This has to do with a GFCI electrical outlet. Our home inspection also said there was a faulty GFCI outlet in the garage that probably controlled both bathrooms. Which we found was correct (you’ll see why in a minute). I went to Lowes and bought a new GFCI outlet and attempted to install a new one. A word to the wise, make sure you check out the wiring pattern before you disconnect the old outlet. If you have ever done electrical, you know what I’m talking about. So I put the new one in and wire it up, which is a major pain by the way, since the wires are very high grade and solid copper. I got it all put back in the wall and turned the power to the outlet back on at the breaker box and went to test. I had power to the outlet itself, but both bathrooms were dead. I didn’t find out my bathroom outlets were dead until later that night when I went to plug something into my bathroom outlet. So just before bed I run back out in the garage and take it all apart again. I tried several wiring patterns and just could not get that new outlet to work for the bathrooms. I ended up having to put the old one back in, but not until I had wired and re-wired about 6 times. Once I put the old outlet back in, all the outlets worked just fine. The GFCI protection may not work, but at least I have power to the three outlets.

]]>

Last minute change of plans

I took vacation days for Thursday, Friday – Monday and Tuesday to close on our houses and get moved in to the new house. So on Thursday morning I was off of work, Liz and I went to New Tampa and picked up the moving truck. We had purchased several items online and needed to go pick them up, so we headed out to Brandon to pickup our new couch set. We got there and the people were really nice and we had no trouble loading the new set. We left there and tried to find a place to stop and get a money order, because I was a few hundred short of the cash I needed to pay for the next item. We found an Amscot where we were going to try to buy a money order, but we only had a check and credit cards with us. They would not let us buy a money order since they deal strictly with cash. So we went to Lakeland anyway to pickup my new TV!!! I bought a 57″ Hitachi Big Screen. I got a great deal on it, it came with a matching entertainment center too. So there were two guys there at the house we picked it up from who helped us load it onto the truck. It took a while and lots of effort, but we managed to get the TV and entertainment center out of the house and onto the truck. I skinned up a knuckle hauling that monster, since we had to pick it up to get over dips and when moving at angles. We secured the TV to the side of the truck and went on our merry way. We only made it a short distance when we heard loud bang from the back of the truck. We pulled over to find the bungie cords we used had come undone. We re-secured the TV this time with rope and more blankets to protect it from any further impacts. Eventually it settled down and we made it back to Tampa in one piece. But something else happened on our way back to Tampa…

As we were leaving and about to get back on I4 to go home, we were sitting at a traffic light on Florida about to turn onto Memorial to get back to I4. Suddenly lots of police kept zooming by us, probably 10-15 cars, we had no idea what was going on. We saw tons of cops, an ambulance, lots of unmarked cars, and just a lot of police activity. We finally made it onto Memorial and were going down the road when we saw lots of people standing on the sides of the road and more police activity. We made it by the police as they just were coming out to stop traffic. We went a little further and saw motorcycle cops driving up and down the road looking for something. We went on our way and didn’t think much more of it. When we got back to Tampa, we heard what happened. Some guy (they think a drug dealer) shot two police officers and a dog. The dog and one of the police officers died and the other office is in critical condition. Last night there was a $15,000 reward for the capture of this guy. This morning, it was up to $40,000. I just now (at the time of writing this post) heard that they found the guy (think he was hiding in the woods) and they shot and killed him. So we were right there in Lakeland when all this happened just moments after it took place.

So we made it back to Tampa and decided to stop by the new house and drop off our loot into the garage. We were told to call the sellers agent for the code to the keypad of the garage door so we could get inside and unload out things. We tried calling and got her voicemail. We called over and over and were about to give up and leave after being there for about 30 minutes. Liz’s mom had just arrived to pick us up so we could leave the truck there until we heard from the sellers agent, just then the phone rang and it was her with the garage code. So we opened the door and unloaded the TV and entertainment center with the couch we got. Then we took the truck back to our house and were going to start loading more onto the truck. Liz had to leave at 2:30 to pickup Sarah from school, so she ate something quickly and left. Liz’s mom also left around that time. That left me home alone to load the truck. I was going to get as much loaded as I could and take a load to the garage so that when help came later, all we had left to move would be last minute things and the larger items I need help with. Well, once Liz left I got ready to go outside and haul stuff into the truck. I took my keys out of my pockets, and put my cell phone on the desk. I didn’t want to have a lot of stuff on me while moving. So I went outside and closed the door behind me. I didn’t realize until a few minutes later that I had just locked myself out of the house with no keys, no phone and no way back inside until Liz got back. Now Liz had to go take Sarah straight to Amanda’s house so she could watch the kids while we moved stuff. She also had to feed michael before she came back. So Liz didn’t come rescue me from my own stupidity until around 4:20pm. We originally thought that Thursday would be our only moving day since we had to be out of there for closing the next morning. So I was in a rush to get stuff loaded and moved, and was rather distraught that I had lost almost 2 hours of my moving time by locking myself out of the house. So Liz got home, and started to pack up more last minute things and I started loading more stuff onto the truck. I had put some things that were on the back porch in the truck already. Around 4:30 we got a call from our realtor, who said there was a delay on the buyers side and they were looking at a Wednesday closing now. So we had to unload what I had loaded onto the truck already, and help Liz finish getting what she needed. I then took the truck back to New Tampa and dropped it off. Liz took some things to Amanda’s house and they got Pizza for dinner. I got back from New Tampa to Amanda’s house around 8pm. I ate and helped get the kids to bed and left around 9:30. I spent the night alone at our old house since we still had most of our things in there. I didn’t want to leave it all there alone.

I got up this morning and came to work a little early so I could eat breakfast in the break room, since they provide pastries and bagels and such every Friday morning. Liz originally left me some milk so I could have some cereal for breakfast, but forgot to leave me some cereal. So I was stuck at the house with no food. I had a bagel and creme cheese for breakfast along with a yummy cheese danish.

I then got a call this morning from our realtor again with a few updates. Apparently I was not told of two more repairs to our house the buyers wanted done. Now I have to patch one more crack in the garage floor (which is normal in FL for a new house) and replace the air filter in the return on our hallway. The buyer is going to do his walkthrough on Monday while the appraiser is there.

So now we have reserved the moving truck for Saturday and Sunday just in case. Hopefully on Saturday we can get all of our stuff moved out of the house into the garage of the new house. I am meeting my realtor to get the truck at 9am tomorrow morning. This should be a fun weekend! And its killing me, I have that nice 57″ TV sitting in the new garage and no way to play with it until Wednesday! 😦 Maybe I will take my DVD player and some cables with me tonight and hook it up just to see it play. I’m so impatient.]]>