24 Sep

AMAZON ECHO – IS IT JUST ME….?

Amazon’s Alexa (on Echo) or Google’s Home. Really? OK, maybe for business if there’s a specific application that needs it, but for round the home? Controlling your thermostat or lights by voice seems totally bonkers. And don’t get me started on Cortana!



24 Sep

MAC MINI – CHEAP WAY TO GET A MAC?

Starting at only £479, the Apple Mac Mini seems like a great way to get a Mac at home or in the office for a low price. Launched in 2012, with several revisions since, it is certainly a great idea with lots of scope for being a decent alternative to a Macbook or iMac but do remember the processor is ancient, upgrading is virtually impossible and you have to buy a screen, keyboard and mouse on top.

24 Sep

LIBREOFFICE v OPENOFFICE v MSOFFICE

A quick word on the state of the various Office suites; LibreOffice is now your goto solution for open source because Apache OpenOffice is no longer being developed. A few years ago Oracle bought OpenOffice but didn’t throw any money at it and consequently a bunch of developers jumped ship to Libre. Microsoft still reigns supreme of course, and sometimes you can’t change it due to the impossibility of replacing Access and partly Excel (various macros). Also, learning a whole new office suite could result in actually costing more than the free counterparts in lost productivity and training.

  

24 Sep

USED LAPTOPS – THE HP WORKHORSE

I have a new batch of refurbished HP ELITEBOOK 8460p’s coming next week, 2 have been earmarked for customers already but let me know if you want me to set one aside for you. Fast Intel Core i5, 14″ screen, 500GB HDD, 4GB RAM. They made millions of these things and you see them all over the world in corporate environments. £250 – £300 depending on condition. You can’t go wrong with one of these.

21 Sep

COMPOUND INTEREST, RULE OF 72

If you want to know how much a lump sum grows over time with compound interest, you can simply double it and double it to get the answer instead of using fancy calculators, but how often will it double? If you know what the interest rate is then use 72 / rate.

Lump sum: £10,000
Interest rate: 7%
Answer: doubles every (72/7) 10 years

  1. So, in 40 years £10,000 would be worth £160,000 (10,000 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2)
  2.  So, can you see why the rich will always be rich? THEY HAVE LUMP SUMS ALREADY and they double it every 10 years (depending on the rate).
  3. How many “doubles” do you have left? This is the most interesting question. Young people could potentially have (68 – 18) 50 years of doubling. So just a single lump sum of £10,000 doubled five times would be £320,000.
  4. With a rate of 10% the lump sum would double every (72/10) 7.2 years. So, in 50 years £10,000 would be £1.28 million.

Now you can see why you need a good initial lump sum in your ISA/pension!

15 Sep

MIGRATING YOUR OLD EMAIL SYSTEM TO GSUITE – THE RIGHT WAY

The process works best like this:

  1. Access a computer with email that is going to be migrated, tell the user 1-8 hours depending on mail
  2. Get the password for the main email account, forward emails from old to gsuite*
  3. Create the new user/email account in GSuite for that user
  4. Download Guite Sync for Outlook and install, specify the email account, create the profile**
  5. DO NOT MIGRATE EXISTING EMAIL, say Yes to Contacts and Calendar***
  6. Launch GSuite Migrate, choose correct PST, Migrate All Data
  7. If the migrate fails, run the Gsuite Migrate again, Migrate Only New Data
  8. Delete the user’s old mail profile
  9. Launch Outlook, let it sync with Gsuite mailbox, set mailbox limit to Unlimited
  10. You will find a subfolder with all his old emails, move these if desired (in Outlook)
  11. If the user had other mailboxes add them now using IMAP

* If you are switching over to gsuite sporadically then forward emails to the test-google-a.com address that comes with Gsuite (e.g. steve@brightnet.co.uk.test-google-a.com). If you are switching over completely in one hit then this step is not necessary, you’ll be changing MX records over a weekend no doubt.

** If the account you are working on is IMAP and has slow broadband you could do the migrate on a better connected PC. Set up his old account, do the migrate then he will get done quicker.

*** The wrong way is to migrate his profile here because it ALWAYS fails, unless the user’s mailbox is very small.

12 Sep

REMOTE DESKTOP – SYN-FLOOD ATTACK

Have you ever had difficulty accessing your Remote Desktop Server or Cloud Server? You could be experiencing a SYN-FLOOD attack. How would you know? Go to a Command Prompt and type netstat -a (or netstat -n -p TCP) and you should see around 100 entries. If you see around 1000 entries (especially for port 3389) then you are being attacked! Probably best to change your port immediately.

To change the port that Remote Desktop listens on, follow these steps:-

1. Start Registry Editor.
2. Locate and then click the following registry subkey:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\TerminalServer\WinStations\RDP-Tcp\PortNumber
3. On the Edit menu, click Modify, and then click Decimal.
4. Type the new port number, and then click OK.
5. Quit Registry Editor.
6. Restart the computer.

You will also have to forward the port in your router to your PC’s internal IP address, e.g. if there are multiple computers in your office and the DMZ is set to go to the server, or if the default port 3389 is set to go to the server, which is why you are doing this.

8 Sep

MICROSOFT PUBLISHER REMEMBERS PRINTER SETTINGS (PER DOCUMENT)

One of the most unintuitive things I have ever experienced is the fact that Microsoft Publisher saves printer settings (paper size, tray, paper type, colour etc) within the *.pub file, which confuses the hell out of users who would not be expecting that. For example, if you open up a text document, image, photo, PDF or hundreds of other types of files the printer settings would all be the same, but then if you opened a Publisher document that a previous user decided to print in black and white then it would print….in black and white! Worse, if you chose a document, made a copy of it and saved as a new document it will inherit the print properties of the original document, which of course you wouldn’t have a clue as to what settings were set. How random is that???

31 Aug

OUTLOOK – REBUILD AUTOCACHE

Close Outlook and delete the local autocomplete cache from %homepath%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook\RoamCache (Stream_Autocomplete_xxxxxxx.dat)

Restart Outlook using the command line switch /cleanautocompletecache (outlook.exe /cleanautocompletecache)

31 Aug

OUTLOOK NICKNAMES REBUILD – AT LAST!

1. Start, powershell…, right click Run As Administrator to start a PowerShell session.

2. Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned, now exit

3. Create a new text file with this content, save as whatever.ps1

# OUTLOOK AUTOCOMPLETE POWERIMPORT
#
# Author: N. Gjermundshaug - Degree Consulting Group AS - www.degree.no
#
# This script requires Outlook to be installed and configured. It scans through the SentItems folder.
# For each sent email, it loops through each Recipient - and adds the recipient to the "Suggested Contacts" Address Group.
# Contacts in the "Suggested Contacts" will be displayed in the autocomplete field - when composing new emails (like nk2).
# Contacts are only added once from the script.
$outlook = new-object -com outlook.application
$olFolders = "Microsoft.Office.Interop.Outlook.OlDefaultFolders" -as [type]
$namespace = $outlook.GetNameSpace("MAPI")
$sentItems = $namespace.getDefaultFolder($olFolders::olFolderSentMail)
$alreadyAddedEmails = @() #Empty Array
$counter = 0;
$totalItems = $sentItems.items.count;
Write-Host "Scanning through" $totalItems "emails in SentItems"
$contacts = $outlook.Session.GetDefaultFolder($olFolders::olFolderSuggestedContacts)
##############################################################################################################
# FUNCTION - Adds Name/Email to SuggestedContacts - Unless it has already been added before (by this script).
##############################################################################################################
Function AddToSuggestedContactsIfNotAlreadyAdded ($name, $email)
{
if(($name -eq "") -or ($email -eq "") -or ($name -eq $null) -or ($email -eq $null)){
 return;
 }
$name = $name.Replace("'", "").Replace("""", "")
$contactAlreadyAdded = $false
foreach ($elem in $global:alreadyAddedEmails) {
 if(($elem.ToLower() -eq $email.ToLower())){
 $contactAlreadyAdded = $true
 Write-Host ($global:counter)"/"($totalItems) "SKIPPED " $name.PadRight(25," ") "-" $email
 return;
 }
 }
if(!$contactAlreadyAdded ) {
 $newcontact = $contacts.Items.Add()
 $newcontact.FullName = $name
 $newcontact.Email1Address = $email
 $newcontact.Save()
 $global:alreadyAddedEmails += $email
 Write-Host ($global:counter)"/"($totalItems) "ADDED " $name.PadRight(25," ") "-" $email
 }
}
# Loop through all emails in SentItems
$sentItems.Items | % {

#Loop through each recipient
 $_.Recipients | %{
 AddToSuggestedContactsIfNotAlreadyAdded $_.Name $_.Address
 }
 $global:counter = $global:counter + 1
}
Write-Host "Done!"
$outlook.Quit()
30 Aug

AEROLITE THEME (WITH THICK BORDERS LIKE WINXP)

Copy and paste this code into a new file called xxxxx.theme e.g. aerolite.theme and then double-click.

; Created by: Shawn Brink
; Tutorial Source: http://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/7935-color-window-borders-title-bars-change-windows-10-a.html

[Theme]
; Windows - IDS_THEME_DISPLAYNAME_AERO
DisplayName=Aero Lite
SetLogonBackground=0

; Computer - SHIDI_SERVER
[CLSID\{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}\DefaultIcon]
DefaultValue=%SystemRoot%\System32\imageres.dll,-109

; UsersFiles - SHIDI_USERFILES
[CLSID\{59031A47-3F72-44A7-89C5-5595FE6B30EE}\DefaultIcon]
DefaultValue=%SystemRoot%\System32\imageres.dll,-123

; Network - SHIDI_MYNETWORK
[CLSID\{F02C1A0D-BE21-4350-88B0-7367FC96EF3C}\DefaultIcon]
DefaultValue=%SystemRoot%\System32\imageres.dll,-25

; Recycle Bin - SHIDI_RECYCLERFULL SHIDI_RECYCLER
[CLSID\{645FF040-5081-101B-9F08-00AA002F954E}\DefaultIcon]
Full=%SystemRoot%\System32\imageres.dll,-54
Empty=%SystemRoot%\System32\imageres.dll,-55

[Control Panel\Cursors]
AppStarting=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_working.ani
Arrow=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_arrow.cur
Crosshair=
Hand=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_link.cur
Help=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_helpsel.cur
IBeam=
No=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_unavail.cur
NWPen=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_pen.cur
SizeAll=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_move.cur
SizeNESW=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_nesw.cur
SizeNS=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_ns.cur
SizeNWSE=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_nwse.cur
SizeWE=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_ew.cur
UpArrow=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_up.cur
Wait=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_busy.ani
DefaultValue=Windows Aero
DefaultValue.MUI=@main.cpl,-1020

[Control Panel\Desktop]
Wallpaper=%SystemRoot%\web\wallpaper\Windows\img0.jpg
TileWallpaper=0
WallpaperStyle=10
Pattern=

[VisualStyles]
Path=%ResourceDir%\Themes\Aero\Aerolite.msstyles
ColorStyle=NormalColor
Size=NormalSize
AutoColorization=0
ColorizationColor=0XC40078D7

[boot]
SCRNSAVE.EXE=

[MasterThemeSelector]
MTSM=RJSPBS

[Sounds]
; IDS_SCHEME_DEFAULT
SchemeName=@%SystemRoot%\System32\mmres.dll,-800
30 Aug

COMPLETELY UNINSTALL A PRINTER

How to COMPLETELY uninstall and Re-install HP drivers & software for Win 7

Uninstall with Revo Uninstaller. First with HP Uninstall, then followup w/Revo (or iobit Uninstaller)

Find and run All-In-One Software Removal four times. Reboot last time

Search AND DELETE any temp files for anything begining with 7Z (i.e., 7ZQYTD.***)

Click the Start Menu:
Open a command prompt and select Run as administrator
Type: net stop spooler
Type: net start spooler
Type: exit ?

Open Windows Explorer and navigate to %systemroot%\system32\spool\drivers\w32x86
NOTE: %systemroot% is usually C:\Windows, but it might be “winnt” or something else; this is set when the OS is installed. Most systems are like this C:\Windows
\system32\spool\drivers\w32x86
Inside the w32x86 folder there will be other folders and files. Delete everything inside but DO NOT delete the w32x86 folder. Also 64 folder.
Restart the computer

Click START > in “Search for programs and files”, type in CMD ,
In the pop-up list, right click on CMD , then clcik on “run as administrator”. A command prompt window will be opened.
In the Command prompt window type in the below command ….
msiexec /unregserver then press ENTER Key.
type in msiexec /regserver and then press enter key again.
Now type in exit and press ENTER Key.

Now start the installation
Watch for about the 3rd install page that tells what is installing. You MUST click on each hyperlink to OK/Accept terms of each link or will not load.
Install ONLY the main prog file first – then rest one at a time.

21 Aug

POP3/IMAP TO GSUITE – NOTES FROM THE OTHER SIDE

If you are planning to move email from a POP3/IMAP hosted system to Google’s GSuite platform, first of all “congrats” because there really is nothing sweeter. The ease of use, the spam filter, the trouble-free operation and the connector for Outlook is simply a joy, especially if your livelihood is supporting email.

There are a few frustrations however. I was unable to migrate the old email using the Outlook “profile” option, instead I had to choose the pst file manually otherwise it just crashed everytime. The good thing is that you can perform the migrate more than once by selecting “migrate only new data” so that you can capture all emails even if it took a few days to prepare.

In performing this kind of migration it was not only 100% successful but it stored the migrated mail in a separate folder on the gmail account, at which point it is easy to drag and drop within Outlook on the GSuite profile to wherever you want it. I would suggest never bothering with the profile migrate, plus it tries to migrate everything in your profile, including other accounts you have set up.

Once all the mail has been transferred over, you can swing the DNS and then password protect the old mail accounts, probably not a good idea to delete them just yet. Don’t forget to hide “All Mail” from IMAP folders in the Gmail settings, otherwise you get 2 lots of email in Outlook.

14 Aug

MICROSOFT ACCESS – DMAX NOT WORKING PAST 99999

Weird problem, I couldn’t see why DMax +1 function wouldn’t increment past 99999, even though it had been working for 5 years.

SalesRec1 = DMax(“txtSalesReceipt”,”qrySOPaym”) + 1

Can you spot the mistake?

Well, firstly, what is the max? 99999, so the max + 1 is 100000. The problem is txtSalesReceipt is a TEXT field, so even with 100000 added to the database 99999 is still the max because 1 comes before 9 alphabetically. So I converted it to a NUMBER field and all was OK.

11 Aug

MICROSOFT GONE DONE STOOPIDS AGAIN

Microsoft is at it again, stoooopid things. 

So, here is the windows sticker on the side of the machine, notice the lack of product key:

Where’s the bloody key? Aah, that’s on a piece of paper…

Zooming in, I particularly like this comment on said piece of paper:

“Please do not discard or lose this document” – so we’re all used to a sticker with the number on the side of the PC but no, no, forget all that, now you have to “not discard or lose” the number which is now on a piece of paper, a piece of paper people….a piece of effing paper! WTF. Keep this door closed at all times, do not pass Go, do not collect £200. Do not discard or lose this piece of paper.

9 Aug

GSUITE – MIGRATE EMAILS OVER – 2 METHODS

1. To enable importing from other webmail hosts:

  1. Sign in to the Google Admin console.
  2. From the dashboard, go to Apps > G Suite > Gmail > Advanced settings.
  3. In the Setup section, check the box next to User email uploads to let users see the option to import mail and contacts from webmail or POP3 accounts, such as Yahoo!, Hotmail, or AOL.Tip: If you don’t see this section, select your account’s top-level organization under Organizations at the top of the page. This feature isn’t available when a sub-organization is selected.
  4. Click Save. There might be a delay before changes take effect.
  5. Tell your users to go to Gmail > Settings to start the import process. For details, see Import contacts into your Gmail account and Check email from other accounts with Gmail.

2. Install G Suite Migration for Microsoft Outlook

After you have configured G Suite, verified the Windows system requirements on each client machine, provisioned your users in G Suite, and migrated your shared contacts, your next step is to install G Suite Migration for Microsoft Outlook on each user’s computer.

You have two options for installation:

  • Push an .msi to your users, and let them use the Run Advertised Programs option in the Windows Control Panel. Download the .msi file below (be sure to pick the correct version for your users’ version of Outlook). For information on implementing the .msi file, consult your Windows documentation.

    Download the GoogleAppsClientMigration.msi:

  • Let your users get the utility from the GSMMO download page, and complete the installation themselves.

To run the installer:

Double-click OutlookMigrationSetup.exe, then click Run.

The utility is installed in the following location:
C:\Program Files\Google\Google Apps Migration\ClientMigration.exe.

5 Aug

LEVERAGING GMAIL IN A PARTITIONED (HYBRID) EMAIL SYSTEM

You can still use GMAIL or GSUITE successfully even if only half your company want to use it, the rest continuing to use Exchange, IMAP or some other cheap email system. Why go hybrid? Because GMAIL has the best spam filter, anti-virus filter, best search facility, best webmail interface and 30GB mailboxes for £3.30 per user. Plus if you don’t want to use the webmail (gmail) interface you can use Outlook…with the google connector (thus eliminating all the usual POP3/IMAP errors you get with Outlook).


Q and A: *Doesn’t forwarding on cPanel leave the email in the mailbox? Yes, so you can either regularly clear the inbox (painful) or just create a forwarder WITHOUT the mailbox. Do I have to use test-google-a? No, you can create a domain alias and use that. So, for example, you can forward fred@brightnet.co.uk –> fred@gsuite.brightnet.co.uk to get all his emails onto gmail.

4 Aug

SETTING UP GOOGLE DRIVE

Google Drive is a great way of copying files from one location to another or to hold your files in the Cloud. The following screenshots walk you through the setup. You need to have a gmail account already.

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1 Aug

PASSWORD PROBLEMS WITH @BRIGHTNET.CO.UK

YES! There is a password problem with @brightnet.co.uk email addresses, so please call me if you have a @brightnet.co.uk address and need the password. I will give it to you and then you can change it to whatever you want after that. My phone number is on the left sidebar.

To access webmail go here:

http://brightnet.co.uk/webmail

Once you are logged in, you can change your password there as well.

27 Jun

DAYBOOK – SMALL BUSINESS INVOICE AND ACCOUNTING SYSTEM

This is Daybook, a small web-based invoice and accounting system. Great for a small business to manage their sales and purchases, produce PDF invoices and email them to customers. It also has the facility for recurring invoices and bills, plus it can produce management reports via Excel. One of the most exciting features is it’s ability to export to Excel allowing you to work offline, and then import changes back into Daybook.

15 Jun

WINDOWS ETHERNET WIRELESS NETWORK BRIDGE

Sounds like I’ve just randomly thrown together some IT words to look cool but no, if you have a PC, a WiFi router and a Brother WiFi MFC printer/scanner then at some point you will lose access to the printing and / or scanning because the whole “WiFi printer” system is a pile of shite and it will do it’s damnedest to make you look like a fricking monkey brains in front of your clients.

The best thing you can do (apart from torch the thing) is to wire it up with Ethernet cabling, but what if you can’t access the router because it’s in a different room and you can’t run a cable? No problem, just create a small Ethernet network with a Ethernet switch and configure a Network Bridge in Network and Sharing Center. This will allow you to WIFi to the router from the bridge PC, but also have Ethernet connected between all the devices in that room. The bridge PC has to be on for the other PCs to connect out.


9 Jun

ABILITY – POP3 RETRIEVAL –> BLACKHOLE

I just experienced a weird situation with Ability Mail Server (great product) where the POP3 Retrievals were obviously being downloaded but were not ending up in the users mailbox. In fact, they were absolutely nowhere to be seen. Also, I had reports on the phone that masses of email was being received by customers. ???

I uninstalled, renamed the CodeCrafters folder and re-installed….all working correctly now.

7 Jun

KYOCERA – SETTING UP TO SCAN TO PC

  1. In Web browser, access the IP address of the Kyocera
  2. Machine Address Book
  3. Add new
  4. Fill in details for SMB
    1. May need to create a user on the PC e.g. Print / print
    2. Make a note of the Computer Name
    3. Create a share point on the hard drive of the computer e.g. Scans
    4. Use the TEST button on the page to see if working
  5. Try a scan from the Kyocera
24 May

OUTLOOK – LOADING PROFILE HANGS

This is quite common, especially on large PST files. If the options below don’t work then the problem is with your PST file, so the easiest thing to do is to find the PST file and rename it. Outlook may or may not start, if it doesn’t rename the next PST file in your profile. Best to try other options first of course:-

Outlook hangs because its data files are being accessed by other applications

When Outlook starts, it needs to access and lock its data files (PST or OST files) in order to read & write to them. If your data files are already being accessed (or locked) by other applications, Outlook will hang on “Loading profile…” while waiting for the data files to become available.

Such situations can occur if:

  1. Third party applications are syncing with Outlook at that moment (for example Google Calendar, Microsoft Communicator etc). Solution: identify the installed applications that might require synchronizing with Outlook and stop these applications from their sync process or wait for them to finish;
  2. Your anti-virus is scanning your data files. Solution: disable your anti-virus and see if the problem is solved;
  3. Your Windows search engine is currently reading / indexing your data files. Solution: stop the indexing service and see if Outlook loads fine;

  4. There is an earlier Outlook process / session that still runs in background, locking your data files. Solution: start the Windows Task Manager and kill (end process) the outlook.exe processes that are running, then try again to start Outlook.
24 May

TWO COPIES OF SENT MESSAGES IN OUTLOOK

Double click on your IMAP account then click More Settings and look at the settings on the Sent Items tab in Outlook 2010. In Outlook 2013, its on the Advanced tab. Choose the option for Do not save copies of sent items and send a test message to see if the problem persists.
Obviously, you want to make sure that ONE copy is being saved.
18 May

MBR / GPT / UEFI – WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?

MBR was first introduced with IBM PC DOS 2.0 in 1983 (Master Boot Record) contains the initial boot loader.

  • The boot loader is a small bit of code that generally loads the larger boot loader from another partition on a drive.
  • MBR only works with disks up to 2 TB in size and only supports up to 4 primary partitions.
  • On an MBR disk, the partitioning and boot data is stored in one place. If this data is overwritten or corrupted, you’re in trouble.

GPT is a newer standard that’s gradually replacing MBR.

  • GPT allows for a nearly unlimited number of partitions.
  • GPT stores multiple copies of this data across the disk, so it’s much more robust and can recover if the data is corrupted.
  • If you try to manage a GPT disk with an old tool that can only read MBRs, it will see a single partition that extends across the entire drive (Protective MBR).

UEFI replaces the clunky old BIOS with something more modern. GPT needs UEFI,.

  • Windows can only boot from GPT on UEFI-based computers running 64-bit versions of Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and server versions.
  • Linux has built-in support for GPT. Apple’s Intel Macs no longer use Apple’s APT (Apple Partition Table) scheme and use GPT instead.
  • UEFI replaces the traditional BIOS on PCs. There’s no way to switch from BIOS to UEFI on an existing PC.

MBR

GPT

BIOS / UEFI

16 May

TIMEX WEEKENDER – 4 DIFFERENT SIZES

Amazon and Watchshop are selling these lovely Timex Weekenders but the photos and specifications don’t make it clear as to the size of the case. But there is an easy way to tell from the photo which one is which:

Click on the above photo for a closer look.