Windows service pack 1 takes 2 tries

22 03 2011

Microsoft are distributing Windows Service Pack 1 via Windows update. It is a massive download. On 3 of my PC’s I’ve seen downloads from 550mb to 890 MB.

On all my PC’s it failed after the initial download and install. Clicking on try again results in an additional download and the install then succeedes. It’s like the initial download forgets something.

So far so good after the upgrades. Other than the install glitch the upgrade works well.





Google’s Two Step Verification – Why everyone needs to use it

15 03 2011

Google Authenticator Logo

Google have introduced a new feature called 2-step verification. To learn the basics read the Google Guide.

Why you Need it

This feature is a must have security feature that should make it very difficult for anyone to hack into your Google account, which is much more than simply your email. Google has a slew of products that you maybe using that store detailed personal information about you. Protecting this information is important to prevent Identity Fraud

Using the 2-step verification ensures that only authorized computers/devices will accept your Google password therefore restricting access to your Google email and other data. If someone finds out Read the rest of this entry »





How to register an orphaned AT&T 92370 handset to a different base station

9 03 2011
AT&T TL92370 Phone System

AT&T TL92370 Phone System

Lightening recently damaged my AT&T Home Telephone Answering system base station rendering the 3 cordless handsets useless. I purchased an identical Telephone system that comes with 3 handsets and hoped to reuse the handsets fom the old system on the new.

Problem

The AT&T TL92370 base station can support up to 12 handsets. However as I read through the instructions on registering and deregistering handsets, it became apparent that to deregister a handset from the base station one needed a working base station to do so. The handsets once registered to a base station cannot be registered to another until they have been released from the original base station. The orphaned handsets displayed the following message

Out of range OR No power at base

I searched in vain on the net looking for a way to remedy this. I diassembled one of the hansets hoping to find a reset switch. No such luck. I was now the proud owner of 3 orphaned handsets I could not use.

Resolution

I sent an email to AT&T asking how to accomplish this. I got a boilerplate response informing me that my problem was too complicated for email resolution and to call 1-888-883-2442 to speak to a tech. I called using Skype. It took about 8 minutes on hold before I got through to a live tech. He asked basic questions and did understand my problem first time. He put me on hold and came back with the folowing code to enter into the old handsets.

*331734# followed by menu/select

The phone beeps twice, reboots and then comes back up ready to register to a new base station.

Registering to the new base station is now easily accomplished using the standard instructions.

  • Press and hold handset locator on base station until ‘in use’ light comes on.
  • Press # on the handset and the phone registers itself to the base station.

I repeated the above procedure with my two remaining handsets and now I have a 6 handset cordless system for my home.

It’s important to note that if you have a working base station you should use the standard instructions for deregistering the handsets. Each handset gets allocated a handset number by the base station, if you deregister using the special code detailed in this post then the reserved handset number on the base station is consumed and cannot be reclaimed; thus reducing the number of handsets the base station can support by 1. The special code is only for use when you have a handset that is orphaned from a lost or  non-working base station.





Netflix stalls on iPad – Problem Resolved

9 02 2011

If Netflix streaming does not play on your iPad it could be a simple fix for an incompatibility with your wireless router.

iPads are quite notorious for having wireless issues, maybe this will be resolved with a future software upgrade for the iPad.

The symptoms I experienced are as follows. After clicking on play the Netflix app would say “Preparing to view….” and the bottom half of the screen was blank cutting off part of the movie cover graphic. Then the app would return to the movie browsing page without starting the movie.

Will Apple allow Tethering to the iPad?

To fix this issue go into the iPad settings menu for your WiFi  network and change the DNS entry to 208.67.222.222

Return to Netflix and the problem should be resolved.

The reason for the problem is that if your router utilizes DNSMasq the iPad/Netflix app misbehaves. By entering a manual DNS server address for OpenDNS service the iPad bypasses your routers DNS Cache which it is incompatible with.

In my case I use DD-WRT software in my router which by default utilizes DNSMasq to speed up your DNS queries. The problem could also be resolved by disabling DNSMasq on the router. Alternatively one could enter 8.8.8.8 into the DNS entry on the iPad wirelsss settings which would use Googles DNS service. Personally I prefer OpenDNS due to its richer feature set.






How to get a replacement Belt Clip for the ‘obsolete’ Driod.

18 01 2011

If you own the original Droid, getting accessories has become more difficult. Verizon do not stock accessories for the Droid now that they no longer sell the phone. (They now sell the Droid X or Droid 2). This is a little frustrating since I am still under contract for another 8 months, not stocking accessories for phones less than 2 years old and still under contract leaves the customer at sea.

I recently broke my belt clip and looked for a cheaper generic belt clip. I soon found they often use a magnet to hold them closed, which puts the Droid into driving or desktop modes. So I tried the local Verizon store only to be told I was out of luck, they no longer sell Droid accessories.

I was about to leave the store when I noticed a Droid 2 belt clip. I enquired if it would fit. ‘No’ was the answer, ‘the Droid 2 has buttons in a different location’. I asked if could try and soon discovered the holster fits the original Droid like a glove. It is the front and rear snap on components that don’t fit the original Droid. My belt clip was broken at the holster, the snap on components are just fine and match the new holster both in color and design.

Problem solved.

Don’t readily accept a no from a Verizon sales rep, they only want to sell new stuff. I won’t sign a two year contract again either. A one year contract is plenty long enough given the pace of change in the smart phone marketplace and the rapid abandonment of the products by all involved





Netflix Streaming – First Impressions

4 12 2010

Netflix are offering 31 day ‘free trials’ to their Movie and TV Show offerings via real-time internet streaming versus their traditional model of getting movies in the mail.

31 Day ‘Free’ Trial:

I say ‘free trial’ carefully, you have to provide some form payment such as credit card or paypal account to get this free trial. Really what they are offering is the first month for free if you sign-up and  join.

For me Movies are just OK and I’ve often considered a Netflix account, but always shied away, Recently however they have added TV shows to their offerings as well as the real-time streaming. This time I bit and signed up.

Quality of Streaming Content:

Don’t know what streaming is/means? If you seen a YouTube video that’s streaming, but there the comparison ends. NetFlix have done well.

I think the quality is great! Not quite as clear as the 1080i TV broadcasts I’m accustomed to, but definitely 720p quality! Considering my modest setup I am quite frankly amazed at the Read the rest of this entry »





New SharePoint 2010 book published by Wrox

15 11 2010

Wrox publishers have released a new SharePoint 2010 book‘Real World SharePoint 2010: Indispensable Experiences from 23 SharePoint MVPs

It promises to be very useful for those looking to setup and/or migrate a SharePoint farm from SharePoint 2007 (MOSS) to SharePoint 2010. My first impressions of the book are that it is very comprehensive and a boon to anyone working with the latest version of SharePoint. Each chapter of the book is written by a different author. The book claims each author is an Microsoft SharePoint MVP so the information should be some of the best available.

I purchased a copy in Kindle format from Amazon. I have found the book to be easy to navigate and search using a Kindle app on my PC. The table of contents is full of hyperlinks so you can quickly get where you want to go. Search is the real reason I got the e-book over the paper book. This type of technical book is very much a reference book, you don’t read it cover to cover like a novel. Being able to search is a very very useful feature. The book is always available to me on my Android phone or my Kindle or a PC; no leaving it at home or have the inconvenience of lugging this heavy book around.

Amazon are quite a bit cheaper than Barnes & Noble for both the paperback or the electronic e-book. Amazon are selling the title for about $28/$31 versus $33/$36 at B&N. Interestingly the Kindle e-book is $3 dollars cheaper than the paperback, but the Nook Book is $3 more. I wonder why Barnes & Noble want to charge more for the e-book?  The cover price is $49.99 so both retailers are discounting heavily.

Click to enlarge

I have included below a list of the chapter titles to give you a flavor of what the book contains.

So buy it here while you can!!





Fixing a broken Grub2 Bootloader after hard drive upgrade

13 11 2010

I recently replaced the hard drive in my laptop. I used Acronis True Image Home 2011 to clone the old hard drive to the new one. It increased the sizes of the partitions proportionatly and made the drive bootable. So far so good.

In addition to Windows 7 I have Ubuntu 10.10 dual booted using Grub2.

Windows 7 booted just fine after the upgrade but Ubuntu would not boot and dropped into busybox with the following error

/dev/disk/by-uuid/xxxx does not exist
dropping to shell

Where xxxx is a long number called a UUID

Because the Linux partition was now 20GB larger than before it had a new UUID which did not match what Ubuntu expected.  Since the introduction of Grub2 Ubuntu boots using Read the rest of this entry »





Pareto Logic Anti-Spyware – First Impressions

3 11 2010

Click on image to enlarge

Pareto Logic have had some good press regarding their security products recently so I decided to check their anti-spyware product out.

They only provide a ‘tease-ware’ version that detects spyware threats but will not clean unless you pay. There are other products that will do a similar job for free, such as SuperAntiSpayware which is my current favorite tool for sanitizing infected computers.

The most impressive feature of the Pareto product is the phenomenal speed of its scan. It’s quick scan took 17 seconds to scan 1/3 million items. SuperAntiSpyware quick scan took 6 minutes and 3 seconds to do a similar scan. The Pareto tool detected 7 adware cookies on my test system versus 10 adware cookies detected by SuperAntiSpyware. So SuperAntiSpyware still remains my favorite for cleaning systems, it is very thourough – and free. However I may well use the Pareto product on slow and/or heavily loaded systems as a diagnostic tool – doing a spyware scan can take hours on such systems and sometimes reveals nothing but nuisance items like cookies.

Pareto Logic have 10 different security products, 2 of which are anti-spyware. I don’t favor one-size-fits-all ‘suite products’ due to their heavy demands on systems, but really, 10 separate products? A little consolidation would be nice.

The bottom line is that the Pareto Logic anti-spyware tool is worth it for troubleshooting a system quickly due to its very fast scanning ability. For mitigation or ongoing protection it’s a bit pricey at $30 per pc.

For mitigating spyware, use SuperAntiSpyware. SuperAntiSpyware is a beast of a program, and I don’t recommend it for ongoing protection. The real-time protection costs $20 per pc, but can be picked up for $10 through special offers.

For ongoing spyware protection use Microsoft Security Essentials, it is totally free for both mitigation and ongoing protection.