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HP DL380 Server

Acquired a new tech toy to occupy my time.  HP DL380 G5

With the recent change in positions at work,  I need to get up to speed quickly on Server 2008, Active Directory and Group  Policies.   The new server was a great find on eBay at $260 and $45 for shipping.

The config includes ;

  • Dual Xeon Quad-Code Processors
  • 16 GB RAM
  • 4 x 172 GB SAS drives
  • Redundant power supplies
  • iLO Remote Access
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
 

Posted by on December 10, 2013 in Mike's Daily Ramblings

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When a Pebble is a Rock

A co-worker showed me his Pebble watch last week.  He’s using it with his Galaxy 3 phone.  Overall, he’s pretty happy with it and hasn’t had any issues.  I’ve been watching the reviews and it seems that they’re a hit with some and others (especially iOS users) who seem to have issues with the Bluetooth service losing connection.

Pebble offers vibrating notifications, messages and alerts. You can dismiss notifications with a shake of your wrist. Some of the features include;
•Incoming Caller ID
•Email (Gmail or any IMAP email account)
•SMS on both Android and iPhones
•iMessage (iOS only)
•Calendar Alerts
•Facebook Messages
•Twitter
•Weather Alerts
•Silent vibrating alarm and timer

With a quick check on-line at Best Buy Chula Vista, I confirmed they have the Red and Black models in stock.  At $149, what the heck, I’ll give it a try. Well, 40-minutes later, I’m back at home, box opened and the device getting a charge. A quick review of the included manual and I start the setup process.

After 45-minutes of trying to configure the watch, I’m already very frustrated.  The screen goes blank (just a white display), the buttons are not responding and I get weird screen display like its stuck between menus.  Okay,  maybe it needs a full charge.  After 5-hours of charging, I reset the watch back to factory setting (5 minutes to just get the menus to respond),  I try again and again with the same failed results.  Upon checking the trouble shooting tips on-line, each of the issues described in their document, I’m having each one of them.

I also discovered that the Pebble Watch will not connect to Microsoft Exchange email accounts. It only works with IMAP.  Another draw back, even if I was able to get ot working as advertised.

Back to Best Buy it goes.  I so wanted this to work. Guess I’ll just have to wait for the iWatch from Apple… assuming the rumors are true.

UPDATE: While returning the Pebble Watch to Best Buy, I had the chance to ask the clerk about other returns.  Yep — plenty of them.  All with various complaints of screen and button issues.  Sounds like someone has production or software issues.

 

Posted by on September 8, 2013 in Mike's Daily Ramblings

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Windows Home Server 2011

Aug 2011 – I’ve been running Windows Home Server for a few years and it has provided a great system for backups and a media server.  Somewhere around April, Microsoft finally released it’s new version (code name Vail) which has been in the works for several years. Despite the many new features in WHS-2011, there has been lots of posts on complaining about the removal of Drive Extender which is Windows Home Server’s storage pooling technology that allows you to coombine multiple hard drives into one large storage array.

Windows Home Server 2011 is mostly Windows Server 2008 R2 with Service Pack 1. This means you have the latest and greatest underlying technology powering the server platform. And, as an added bonus, a bulk of the software being developed for Windows Server 2008 is going to work with Windows Home Server 2011. Not to mention the driver support for new hardware is much better and it includes support for all of the newer high-capacity hard drives. Although I was in no hurry to upgrade, it’s now August and time to take on a new project. I also have a failing 1.5 TB Samsung drive that I know I need to replace, plus — one of the cooling fans is making a bit on noise too. None of this was going to be easy due to the shear volume of data I have.  Roughly…. 3.5 TB of music, photos, movies, backups from several computers, etc.. This would take the whole weekend migrating everything over. Long story made short, I made a few mistakes (including formatting the primary drive with the index of all the files) but in the end,  everyting got moved over and running smoothly.  I also upgraded the version of SharePoint however the memory required may force me to upgrade the server. We’ll save that for another day.

 

Posted by on August 12, 2011 in Mike's Daily Ramblings

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Sony’s Dash & Best Buy’s InfoCast

The recent Best Buy Thanksgiving ad caught my eye on the Sony Dash and the Best Buy branded InfoCast. In short, they are internet connected devices that streams Facebook posts, internet music,  photos, weather and various Chumby (Flash Lite) apps — all on a nice touch screen.  The basics are the same between the models except the Sony has a 7″ capacitive screen and the InfoCast is a 8″ resistive touch screen.  They both run a unique version of the Chumby OS linux software implementation and connect to the internet via 802.11 A, B or G wilress. Sony version uses a tweaked version of the Chumby widget OS that is  not as open as most Chumby devices. However,  the Dash also adds in Sony’s Bravia Internet Video platform to support streaming media services like NetFlix, Pandora, and Slacker. NetFlix isn’t available on the InfoCast as yet. The reviews for the InfoCast and the Dash are mixed.  Many call the device a expensive alarm clock with only minimal 3rd party apps while others love the fact that it runs Linux 2.6 and open and is hackable. Engaget has a good review of the Sony Dash  here and the Infocast here. I have to admit that most of the apps (1,500) are worthless even though they are all free.  There are the few that standout and make the device worth the price tag.  The Sony Dash sell retail for $199 and the InfoCast (available only at Best Buy) sells for $169.  They were on sale for $129 and $99. So far I have only configured my Facebook account and NetFlix for the Dash.  Watching videos has been flawless. Next week I’ll open the InfoCast and give it a whirl.

 

Posted by on November 28, 2010 in Mike's Daily Ramblings

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Verizon Droid-X Eval

On Friday, I received a demo Droid-X to test over the next few days. Several folks at work have the Droid and they all seem very happy with the device.  I’ve seen enough TV commercials and web site reviews to know that the android market  is giving the iPhone a good run for the money–minus the overly tight control Steve Jobs seems to have on the apps functionality. Much to my surprise, it only took a whole 15 minutes of playing with the screens, making simple changes to settings, all while staring at the rather generous touchscreen LCD display to put a smile on my face.  This is one cool smart phone!   I also just learned that the Droid-X is a CDMA only device with no GSM capability – – which means domestic use only.  This might be a bit limiting for some of my clients who do a fair amount of travel internationally. Here’s a quick run down on some of the highlights of the Droid-X 8-megapixel autofocus camera shots and video Dual-LED flash for camera use WiFi – b/g/n supported MicroUSB 2.0 port Micro HDMI port 16GB microSD included (can support up to a 32 GBSD card) WiFi hotspot functionality built right in the device (up to 5 users)   Overall, I am impressed. The screen actions seem very responsive and the UI menus are easy to get to and understand. Back it goes to the Verizon folks in a few days with a big thumbs up from me.  I hope I have enough time to look at some of the business apps and compare them against the offerings from BlackBerry and iPhone.

 

Posted by on September 13, 2010 in Mike's Daily Ramblings

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90-Amp Flux Welder

07/10/2010 – 90-Amp Flux Welder Okay,  this is another one of my hair brained ideas.  I recently purchased a small solar panel setup from Harbor Freight.  The frame for the three panels  are pretty lame.  I’m afraid that one good gust of wind and the panels would end up on the ground–shattered into pieces.  I decided I needed something a bit more sturdy.  I searched the web and what seemed like 100’s of web sites looking for  something that would work as a good frame and a rotating stand.  Nada… at least not in the price range I was will to pay for. I decided I could make one fairly easely. After a quick check of the weeky sales flyer at Harbor Freight, they had their 90-amp flux welder on sale.  In addition to the sale price, I had a 20% off coupon that make the deal worth getting.   My cheap $89 welder actually cost me close to $200 by the time I got all of the accessories required.  Leather bib and gloves, welders helmet, .030 flud wire, metal brushes, etc, etc. I’ve never welded a day in my life but I was gonna learn real quick! Lesson #1 — Don’t weld on the nice new WOODEN table you just built. Hot weld splatter will leave burn marks. Lesson #2 — Don’t weld near the table saw where there is a  pile of wood dust and shavings lay’n around.  : > Lesson #3 — Don’t touch the hot metal you just welded for at least 10-minutes.  It stays hot for a long time! Lesson #4 — Don’t try to weld galvanized pipe until you read the warning about toxic fumes and welding.

 

Posted by on July 10, 2010 in Mike's Daily Ramblings

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TED 5002 Arrived

06/18/2010: TED 5002 Arrived TED is a home energy monitoring system. You can monitor specific circuits, just portions of the house or the entire energy usage at one big view. I researched various systems and settled on the TED (The Energy Detective) due to its high user rating and that they just received approval from Google to start publishing data on Googles’ PowerMeter interface. Our average gas & electrical bill was running around $190 @ month and kept increasing a little each and every month on a steady basis. I purchased the TED 5002-C model that comes with dual clamps so I could monitor two individual circuits and move the clamps around for various readings throughout the house. The system is very slick and works as advertised. Yea, it has a few minor quarks but overall it has worked well and provides some solid insight into power usage. I quickly discovered we left the lights on in the garage way too often; the living room plasma TV sucks up 500 watts and the wall warts don’t really eat up that much power in comparison to the big picture. I also discovered that our Koi pond, which runs two filter pumps 24×7 used up 40% of our electrical usage. With a few changes (and ripping out the Koi pond) we’ve reduced our bill to $93 in August and $96 in September. The numbers are now automatically fed to our iGoogle page and I’m looking into some solar panels for how it might fit into the house and backyard for further savings. See more info and photos on my tech page here.

 

Posted by on June 18, 2010 in Mike's Daily Ramblings

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Ham Radio Hobby Renewed

04/15/2010: Ham Radio Hobby Renewed Earlier last month, I ran into a old friend and ham radio buddy (Greg-KC6VDY). Neither of us had turned on a radio in many years. We both had moved into new homes over the years and never reinstalled our radios. It wasn’t long and both of us dusted off our old equipment, added new antenna wires and fired up the gear. So much has changed in 2-way communications. Newer equipment now offers GPS tracking/reporting features, built in TNC (terminal node controllers), IRLP (internet linking with VoIP), etc. Yep — I’m having fun again with ham radio. Of course,  I needed some updated equipment.  See my post in Tech Toys

 

Posted by on April 15, 2010 in Mike's Daily Ramblings

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Ocean View Hills Community Web Site is born

03/01/2010: Ocean View Hills Community Web Site is born I wanted a place to publish all of the weather info I was acumulating from my new system, as well as, a place to put up information about our small little community ‘Ocean View Hills’. Besides the weather info, I offer traffic report info, Emergency Preparedness Guide, Ocean View Hills crime information (acquired from ARJIS) and other tid bits of info. It’s taken some time to get my little pet project up and running but I finally got it enought shape to publish.   The OVH site and weather info link is here

 

Posted by on March 1, 2010 in Mike's Daily Ramblings

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Photo Rendering using Lightbox & Java Script

10/17/2009: Photo Rendering using Lightbox & Java Script Spent half the day tinkering with various CSS and java script apps to find a better way to display inages on the site. ShadowBox (http://www.shadowbox-js.com) has some very nice features. Especially cool is that this app allows a large number of image types and it can handle video such as QuickTime, Flash, YouTube, WMA, etc. Not too sure I’m ready to put it to use on our site just yet. More testing needed. UPDATE 09/2010:  Added the Lightbox-2 functionality to the WordPress Blog.  Everythig seems to be working as expected.  I know there are a lot more options to this plug-In than what I am using but it works for now. — Mike

 

Posted by on October 17, 2009 in Mike's Daily Ramblings

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Finalizing mcorum.com web site

10/11/2009: Finalizing mcorum.com web site Well, we finally published the mcorum.com web site. I’ve been playing with it off and on for months and finally just said… Do it! The layout has always been the issue. I changed the theme from one format to another and then changed it again to something else. I settled on a original theme taken from WordPress called “sliding door”. Not the best but it works for now. As part of the site, I created this static page called “Mike’s Blog Notes”. I wanted to replicate the old-school greenbar paper look. I think I did a good job.

 

Posted by on October 11, 2009 in Mike's Daily Ramblings

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Adobe Creative Suite 4 Design Premium

09/20/2009: Adobe Creative Suite 4 Design Premium I recently purchased the full Adobe Creative Suite 4 Design Premium. There is so much to this and I’ll never use half of it.

The package includes;

  • Photoshop
  • Extended Dreamweaver
  • Acrobat 9 Professional
  • InDesign
  • Illustrator
  • Flash
  • Professional Fireworks
  • Adobe Bridge

My main interest was only Dreamweaver, but I got such a sweet deal on the entire package (which retails for $1,800) for less then same cost of just one of the individual items.

Thank you Ruth!

 

Posted by on September 20, 2009 in Mike's Daily Ramblings

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