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Showing posts from 2010

Clonezilla, imaging, and all the rest

It's been a while since my last blog post. Which isn't a problem necessarily, just a statement of fact. I feel like I have to reflect on a few things concerning this blog, the first of which is I never really expected this blog to be widely read or commented on. Which, as it turns out, is entirely the case. I'm glad I didn't get my hopes up. I understand that the things I write about are more technical and somewhat specific to certain products out on the market, of which pages and pages of information can be found about online. This is not an attempt, by any means, to replace that information--like most other user-generated content on the web, this is just meant to supplement the already available information with my unique viewpoint and solutions to challenges I've faced, which I hope will be helpful to someone.

The second thing I'd like to reflect on is the fact that I am now finished with my bachelor's degree, which means I get to come home from work and …

Folder Size for Windows Explorer

Have you ever had to look through a bunch of folders and files to find ones that are just taking up way too much space? Well, I was the other day, and ran into a limitation of Windows XP--explorer does not show folder sizes when switching to a detailed list view. After a quick google, I stumbled across a program called Folder Size for Windows Explorer. After installing the program it ran as a service. When browsing through files using explorer, Folder Size automatically listed folder sizes as well as file sizes in a column headed "Folder Size." The only problem that I ran into it was browsing a mapped drive--even though I wasn't viewing by detailed view, it would automatically refresh the folder every few seconds, jumping the scroll bar back up to the top of the folder which was an issue until I killed the process. Other than that, the program works great.

Hit the link to check it out on Sourceforge.

Archive Google Apps for Education...with Enkive?

Well, I don't know because Enkive hasn't been released yet. But Enkive, a project by The Linux Box, looks pretty promising. The software offers email retention and retrieval, and regulatory compliance. Enkive is built using the Alfresco system, another open-source project focused on CMS. From what I understand, Enkive is planned to follow in the steps of many other open source software offerings--a "community" version for free, and a "enterprise" version that will be supported by The Linux Box, pricing is yet to be determined. Enkive Community Edition is set to be released 4th Quarter 2010 (may even be this Friday!), with the commercial version planned for release beginning of next year.

What I'm most interested in, however, is the archiving of Google Apps for Education email. On Enkive's website, it says that Gmail can be archived, but does take some extra setup. Or, perhaps the commercial version will be at a low enough cost that it would make sens…

Windows XP Network Adapter Priority

Something I just learned the other day that is a part of Windows XP networking is the ability to set the priority of which network connection is used. This is pretty important--I have a site where there is a large amount of laptops being used both plugged into the wired network and attached to the wireless network at the same time. Of course, I would prefer that they used the wired network exclusively for their applications while in the office, and this gives me a way to force it.

In order to enable this feature, go to Network Connections in Control Panel, click on Advanced in the menu bar, and select Advanced Options. Within this window, you can adjust the priority of the various network connections. In this way, I can free up some of the bandwidth going over the wireless connection, while making our users happier with a faster network connection to the individual computer.

Print Spooler Crash

Printers are by far my kryptonite. The huge variety of printers and inconsistency, even within brands, is very difficult to get a good idea of what's going on. At any rate, one of the biggest problems we've had so far is documents that get 'stuck in the spooler'. As a more technical explanation, whatever document that a user is trying to print (generally a PDF) has somehow been corrupted or wasn't created properly, which causes the print spooler to crash. This has a detrimental effect on practically every program that uses a printer, causing people to think a virus has attacked their computer, and others, who are not as familiar with the issue, to spend hours trying to take care of a problem that is relatively easy to workaround. This problem has generally effected the HP LaserJet 1018, HP LaserJet 1020, and HP LaserJet 1022n. Unfortunately, those models are everywhere, almost at every school site.

The secret? Several steps:

Stop the print spooler service. Either use…

Change....

This is a little off-topic from what I've been posting the past couple of weeks, but I think that it's so vital to our jobs as technicians that it deserves more attention.

Change, and the graceful management of change by both individuals and management itself, has always been harped on by those who are "progressive" or whatever you may want to call them. Much as I don't like associating myself with "progressives", I can't say I'm much different. Of all the things in life, change is by far the most consistent. Perhaps that's a dumb statement because it's so obvious (and cliché), but it's true. You can tell a lot about someone's character and life by how they handle change--whether they do so with thought and optimism, or blindness and negativity.

Without trying to bring in a lot of personal experiences into this, I'd like to make a few statements: I'm 21-year-old male and almost done with college. Perhaps that's a discla…

OSX Server+Gateway Setup+15 minutes=Awesome

Just got the green light to implement an OSX server (Xserve running 10.5 Leopard) as a gateway at one of our school sites to replace one of our ancient Novell servers that was choking down our bandwidth (the replacement of the server confirmed that). I have only good things to say about OSX server software--incredibly easy to setup. For those of you who have not setup an OSX server as a gateway, here's some tips that I got from Apple's documentation:

The NAT service needs to be on (obviously) but in our environment, it was important that we choose the option to forward all IP addresses so that we could see traffic from individual computers, since all sites are on different subnets, but connect back to our office (through Charter provided connection) for internet, filtering, etc.
In order for NAT to work properly, the firewall has to be on for the "packet divert rule" to be enabled, which is vital to NAT's functioning. This was my first mistake before reading Apple&…

Exciting News and Stuff

Meant to post this last Monday but life got real busy real quick.
So...got a response from the person I emailed earlier about archiving Google Apps for Education email using Lightspeed's TTC server. The verdict? He was able to implement it...but it took quite a bit of doing. I'll update this later when I can make a little more sense of what he said. It was a tad confusing and involved, but was doable, which is pretty much awesome. The basic setup involves redirecting Google Apps MX records to your TTC server, which then forwards the mail to a computer on your network (he suggested hmail) and then point that back out to Google to handle the email. But this way, it gets the mail in your network where it can be archived. More on that later when I have some time to look into it more.

Archiving Google Apps for Education Email?

One of the biggest things I'd like to change for our school district is our email system. We're currently using Novell Groupwise--which isn't a bad system overall, it's just clunky and not so user-friendly and is WAY overloaded with features that we'll never use. I'm a Google guy...I've used many different webmail clients, and, out of all of them, Gmail is by far the best--especially when integrated with Google Calendar and Google Docs. Schools can get Google Apps for Education, which includes email, calendar, and docs for free. FREE is very appealing for school districts. So why have we not implemented this yet? Well...it boils down to a little problem called email archiving. We're required by law to archive emails for use as forensic evidence. Google offers a service called Postini to archive Google mail (which used to be on its own, but I believe Google bought them out) but costs a LOT of money...money that we do not have.
We implement a system called…

First Post

Every blog has to have the typical 'first post' post. Or maybe not...but every blog I have attempted to start has had one, so there you go. The intent of this blog is to share some information that I have been gathering over the years working as a computer technician...and to basically keep notes for myself so I can remember what I've implemented over the years and how. The main focus (if not the only focus) is going to be on open-source/free software, since I work for a school district, we have no money, and I'm just that type of guy.
My current project I'm working on (or thinking of working on) is called WPKG, a way to deploy applications over the network without using Group Policy etc. The school district I work for is on a Novell network (!!!!) that's running severs that are 15 years old so I don't have much to work with, but do the best I can with what I've got. I've come up with some pretty cool stuff, so stay tuned--I'll blog about that la…