Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Recycling IT components

As an environmentalist, I often run up against the problem of clients who want to dispose of things but don't want to pay to have them recycled or disposed of properly. Unfortunately, we're not at a point in this country where we have free electronics recycling, but there are some things that HAVE TO BE recycled. One example is rechargeable batteries. As an example, I have one client who has an old APC UPS. It's nonfunctional, but it has a 10 pound battery inside that cannot be thrown away. As of the last time I investigated this, I had to pay for APC to take back one of their batteries unless I wanted a replacement. As such, I did then what I'm doing today. I looked up local places that take recycled batteries. Here is the site:

and here is the link to battery recycling:

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sharepoint 3.0 broken by Microsoft patch

It's so absurd when a Microsoft patch breaks a Microsoft program/component. It happens from time to time. In Oct0ber 2007, Microsoft released a patch that broke one of my client's Sharepoint 3.0 servers. After some brief research, I found the answer here:

The suggested fix here solved the issue.

Best practices for a wireless network

I was looking through a manual for a device and I came across Belkin's best practices for placement of a wireless router. I thought it was helpful enough to post it:

Try to avoid placement of wireless devices near:
• 2.4GHz cordless phones
• Microwave Ovens
• Refrigerators
• Washer/Dryer
• Metal Cabinets
• Metallic-based UV tinted windows

Implementing a Change Password button in OWA

and if you have ISA:

which says The change password functionality uses a different URL, and there's no ISA
Rule that covers granting access to it, ergo ISA says "403 Forbidden" and
blocks it.

You need to add /iisadmpwd/* to the OWA Web Publishing Rule in the paths
tab, using the same format as the existing entries.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Vista flaws found so far

I wish I could like Vista. I started rolling it out to my clients a couple months after it came out. For the most part, it's ok, but here are my main complaints:

1) it is slow - there are too many instances where the computer should just do something and the screen goes white while that damn circle just keeps rotating. These are times when I'm just navigating folders or going from one folder to another within Outlook. And not all the time, but sometimes - on several computers. Also, it can take so long for folders and their contents to come up. Why the hell does it take 10 seconds to display the control panel? If it was just slow consistently, that would be one thing - but when it's inconsistently slow, that speaks to a flaw in the programming.

2) Display settings don't retain. When a laptop goes to sleep, it will often lose all or part of its display settings on an external monitor. I have several clients with an external display and extended desktops (using the laptop screen). Settings do not remain the same after going to sleep or restarting. This happens with and without docking stations.

3) Believe it or not, I think Vista is more crash prone than XP. I find more illegal program messages in Vista than XP.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Reformatting Dell Computers

Norton Ghost™ is available on Dell™ Dimension™ and Inspiron™ systems that shipped on or after Oct. 18, 2005 in the Americas. If your system does not have Norton Ghost available, please refer to the Dell Reinstall Wizard: 291641 - "Microsoft® Windows® XP Reinstall Guide"

Ctrl F11 upon bootup should start Norton Ghost recovery

Friday, October 26, 2007

Dell Latitudes and disabled NICs

One thing I've had trouble with off and on is that Dell laptops with Broadcom network cards disable the NIC when you unplug the power cord and a network cord is not in. This can create problems when you have users who work on a wired connection at their office and then take their laptop home and work wirelessly on battery and then bring their laptops back in. When you clod boot a computer, the NIC comes back on, but if the laptop was asleep, in my experience it does not.

Personally, I've always preferred to just disable that power saving feature. The Broadcom applet in the Control Panel doesn't do it, so I have found the best way to do it is to do this:

Unplug the network cable
Unplug the power cable
For about 3 seconds a Broadcom window will come up that will say "your internal network card has been deactivated. Click here to change preferences"
And then you tell it to "always activate on battery"

You can do this in the dock or not in the dock.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

recycling used cell phones

I was very pleased today to see that Palm offers free cell phone recycling.

I guess with the size of cell phones, it's trivially easy to dispose of them in an environmentally friendly way - or they may be usable somewhere else. I've long been dissatisfied with the options for recycling computers. The options are not widely known and so many computers end of landfills. Personally, my clients and I end up recycling computers by donating them to The National Cristina Foundation.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

reformatting a Toshiba Portege R205

Reformatting a Toshiba Portege R200 or R205

Hold down 0 (zero) while starting the laptop

Point of this blog

I have been keeping my own notes on things I have learned as an IT consultant. I'm making these notes publicly available and adding my own opinions as I gain experience with different things in an effort to help people.