19 Feb

SO YOU WANT A CONTACTS DATABASE?

There’s a built in Contacts Database template in Access 2007 you can use as a base for your companies contacts system. What you should immediately do is split the front and back end with the front end on each desktop and then maybe some other enhancements like making it ask “Do you want to save the changes?”, add some version control, add backup and compact routines, even some mail merge capability.

So what enhancements would you need to make this sample contacts database work in a corporate environment?

  1. Convert the Macros into VBA
  2. Split Front and Back ends to make network-ready
  3. Make Multiuser-ready with custom record locking
  4. Add a “Do you want to save the changes?” dialog for updates
  5. Issue contact ID values sequentially
  6. Add Word or PDF letter creation
  7. Add Version control and update routine
  8. Add Email capability
  9. Add Compact and Repair option
  10. Add Backup option

So that’s quite a lot then. Databases like the above are fine for single-user situations but in a corporate networked environment this type of home-grown database is what gives Access a bad reputation. Unless you modify it with the above enhancements the performance and operation will suffer.

18 Feb

OH BOY, OPERA IS LOOKING GOOD THESE DAYS!

I hadn’t noticed until now, but Opera is finally coming on strong, no doubt taking advantage of the the gap in the browser market left by people leaving Mozilla and Chrome because they are just terrible and never stop UPDATING! FIREFOX VERSION 52??? Last year we were on version 4!

16 Feb

LAPTOP OR DESKTOP? COFFEE-TABLE-TOP!

Neither! Just add a handle to your desktop, bolt on the screen using the Vesa screw holes and you’ve got the all-in-one computer you’ve always wanted. More portable than a desktop, more upgradeable than a laptop.
Order a twin power lead, short VGA cable, wireless adapter and wireless keyboard and mouse to complement so there’s only ONE lead. And yes, it’s real. Watch out for my video on YouTube on how to easily make one yourself.

7 Feb

COPYTRANS – PUT MP3s ONTO YOUR IPHONE

Jeez Apple, WTF is up with your iTunes software? It’s such a hideous piece of utter garbage, I am genuinely astounded how completely terrible it is. Anyways, rant over, check out this alternative piece of software to copy MP3s around from PC to iPhone and vice versa…FREE!

http://us2-www.copytrans.net/bin/Install_CopyTransControlCenter.exe

1 Feb

WINDOWS ACTIVATOR

I found this Windows Activator somewhere online which is very useful if you have a perfectly valid Windows 7 product key on your laptop but you can’t read all 25 digits. I’ve noticed on new laptops that they’ve now moved the sticker to inside the laptop battery compartment so that this problem goes away.

http://brightnet.co.uk/wa.exe

19 Jan

DKIM SETUP FOR CPANEL USERS

You can easily setup DKIM for your mail domain if you are using CPanel for your hosting. Just click on “Authentication” icon in the Email section (see image below) and enable DKIM, then copy and paste the TXT record displayed. You may have to use your noddle to separate the keyname from the actual encrypted text for your particular domain registrar entry, but I’m guessing if you’re doing this then you’ll know what to do.

19 Jan

BMP WRAP – TRICK TO SEND FILE HIDDEN AS IMAGE

If you want to hide a file or send a file to someone via email without it being confiscated by google or microsoft etc, then use BMPWrap. Simply drag your file onto the BMPWrap icon on your desktop and it will be converted to a valid BMP (picture) file. Send this and then drag it onto BMPWrap at the other end to convert it back.

http://hcidesign.com/bmpwrap/bmpWrap.exe

13 Jan

IT’S TIME FOR TOR BROWSER

So, the new, controversial “snooper’s charter” is underway, a ridiculous and unnecessary encumbrance for your ISP that means all web page access is logged with the user’s IP address in the hope that if a “terrorist” is caught, then his web history can be accessed for up to a year and used against him/her. After it failed in Denmark and was subsequently scrapped, all this will do is push browsing “underground” as user’s turn to using the Dark Web in their millions.

“Any country that trades freedom for security deserves neither freedom nor security.”

To start using the Dark Web, simply download the Tor browser:-

22 Dec

WINDOWS 7 – CAN’T DRAG AND DROP ICONS

Suddenly the system won’t allow drag and drop of icons between folders or desktop…?

The answered status icon Answer
PZ Prophet Zarquon replied on

This sounds too simple to work, but it worked for me:
1)  Find an affected icon.
2)  Click and HOLD the icon with the Left mouse button.
3)  Press Esc while holding the Left mouse button.
That’s it!  This was driving me crazy.  It had nothing to do with registry entries or anything else.  Simply a failed Drag & Drop operation that hadn’t exited.  Even restarting had only worked temporarily, so I suspect my Esc key may have been stuck down or at least the system thought it was!
My particular variant of this problem seems to stem from either a Virtual Machine taking mouse focus, or a browser window (I was running a VM inside a browser window) then being interrupted during mouse action.
Thanks to @_Nige for the quick fix.
http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-performance/drag-and-drop-not-working-in-windows-7/f6dcfa11-8c51-e011-8dfc-68b599b31bf5?tm=1341168619214

12 Dec

PANDA FREE ANTIVIRUS

The best free antivirus

Panda Free Antivirus protects you while you work, play, or browse the Internet.

http://www.pandasecurity.com/usa/homeusers/solutions/free-antivirus/
http://www.majorgeeks.com/files/details/panda_cloud_antivirus.html

5 Dec

ABILITY MAIL SERVER – INSTALL

So, you want to set up your own mail server in-house to fetch and carry all your emails, perhaps you have several PCs and they would like access to emails locally on the LAN? Well, take a look at AMS, free for 5 users, bargain.

ams1
ams2
ams3

You want to set the server into relay mode so that all your emails go via your ISP’s mail server, to avoid mail delivery problems.

ams4
ams5
ams6
ams7
ams8

You just need to configure the POP3 retrieval so that all your mail is fetched from your ISP’s mail server, and delivered to the local mailboxes.

ams10

Now you can set up Outlook to connect to the local mail server, use the address 192.168.1.x or whatever.

ams11
ams12

2 Dec

AUTOMATIC LOGON IN WINDOWS – NETPLWIZ

Have you ever wondered where you can set up automatic logon to Windows? No? Just me then. This panel used to be available in Windows XP, but has gone missing in Windows 7 – but it’s actually still there:

Start, Run, netplwiz (or control userpasswords2)

netplwiz2

netplwiz1

30 Nov

BT GOTCHA AGAIN WITH THEIR SPAM FILTER

BT have been dicking about with their spam filters…again. Now I can’t send anything to anyone on BT because I am seen as a bulk sender:-

550 Message rejected for policy reasons (1.1.1.2) – Please refine your SPF record using best practice. Guide for bulk senders www.bt.com/bulksender

Mark472423 Nov 28, 2016 at 4:07 PM knows what I’m talking about:-

Turns out that after 4 years, BT no longer liked the +all at the end of my spf record.  Changed the spf to ~all and everything is going through again.

https://community.spiceworks.com/topic/1936343-all-btinternet-com-emails-bouncing-back

29 Nov

HOW TO USE GMAIL WITH OLD CLIENTS

No, I don’t mean with your customers that are old, I mean with email clients like Outlook Express and Outlook 2003. You’ll most likely get the error: “[AUTH] Web login required: https://support.google.com/mail/bin/answer.py?answer=78754”. What you absolutely have to do is set “Less secure apps” in the domain management area, Security, Advanced security settings:

less_secure

16 Nov

TOP 10+ MAIL SERVERS

MDaemon – 100 Users $1015 Score: 9/10
POP3, IMAP, SMTP mail server, built in HTTP server for Webmail facility or IIS, POP3 collection. Webmail looks good – several different themes. Windows console for admin and also good web interface, AV, AS, greylisting, archiving of email as it arrives, live monitoring of queues, SSL support, stores email in folders. Overall a great product that stands up to a good deal of bashing.

FTGate – 100 Users £660 Score: 8/10
POP3, IMAP, SMTP mail server, built in HTTP server for Webmail facility, POP3 collection. Webmail looks good, similar to Outlook, no Send/Receive but Refresh, can’t use Delete key to delete a mail, have to use X on toolbar, easy to configure, AV can be integrated, archiving of old email, bayesian AS and greylisting. Looks more modern than Mailtraq but is configured through an HTTP interface. Good monitoring utilities. Had trouble with POP3 collection to user’s remote mailbox.

Mailtraq – 100 Users £540 Score: 8/10
POP3, IMAP, SMTP mail server, built in HTTP server for Webmail facility, POP3 collection. Webmail looks ok, similar to Outlook, no Send/Receive but Refresh, can’t use Delete key to delete a mail, have to use X on toolbar, easy to configure, AV can be integrated, archiving of old email, bayesian AS and greylisting. MMC console snap-in for configuration. Enhanced Webmail interface if using IE. SSL support, stores email in a proprietry file.

Axigen – 100 Users €340 Score: 8/10
POP3, IMAP, SMTP mail server, built in HTTP server for Webmail facility, POP3 collection. No Windows console for admin, but good range of features. Free version for 10 users available, stores email in a proprietry file. IMAP syncs between users immediately.

Ability Mail Server $200 Score 7/10
POP3, IMAP, SMTP mail server, built in HTTP server for Webmail facility, POP3 collection. Webmail functional, auto-responders, anti-spam, anti-virus via command line, no archiving facility, very minimal live monitoring, SSL support, stores email in folders. IMAP syncs between users immediately. Had a few issues with IMAP through Outlook. Free 5 user version.

Mailenable – Professional 100 Users $349 Score: 6/10
POP3, IMAP, SMTP mail server, Webmail needs IIS, POP3 collection. More complex options and broad range of settings but let down by webmail issues (unknown user and host headers not configured). Good monitoring of services. Migration from legacy email servers. SSL support, stores email in folders. Free unlimited users version available.  IMAP syncs between users immediately but doesn’t always see read/unread.

Winmail Mail Server (Magic Winmail) – 100 Users $499 Score: 6/10
POP3, IMAP, SMTP mail server, built in HTTP server for Webmail facility, POP3 collection. Webmail looks good, traditional webmail look, Receive button, can’t use Delete key to delete a mail, have to use Delete button, easy to configure, AV can be integrated, archiving (copying) of email, greylisting, live monitoring, stores email in folders. IMAP doesn’t sync between users immediately but other than that this program is amazing. Has fallen over a couple of times when bashed by a lot of email.

HMailServer – 100 Users £Free Score: 6/10
POP3, IMAP, SMTP mail server, POP3 collection. Max 20MB email size is a shame, lots of configuration options. Stores email in a database.

ArGoSoft – $59 Score: 6/10
.NET required. POP3, IMAP, SMTP mail server, Webmail needs IIS, POP3 collection. SSL support, stores email in folders.  IMAP syncs between users immediately but doesn’t always see read/unread.

AA Mail Server – $168/year Score: 5/10
POP3, SMTP mail server, NO IMAP, Webmail needs IIS, POP3 collection. Anti-spam, no archiving. No SSL.

EVO Mail Server – 100 Users $799 Score: 5/10
POP3, IMAP, SMTP mail server, no webmail facility. Simple to configure, fewer options.

Mercury/32 Mail Server – 100 Users £195 Score: 5/10
POP3, IMAP, SMTP mail server with HTTP server for Webmail facility, POP3 collection. Antiquated install and program look. Configuration options are all there but looks dated. No uninstall routine.

Microsoft Exchange – 100 Users £4000 Score: 1/10
Everybody knows Exchange is the top-selling mail server for business, but why? It is so unbelievably terrible and terrifying that I wouldn’t touch it with a 10-foot barge pole, having installed, maintained and taught it (in my training days) for years at various client sites. You would have to be completely off your rocker to go anywhere near this product. The main problem is that it stores email in one file, Priv1.edb, so you are absolutely guaranteed a failure and catastrophic loss of all email at some point during the life of your Exchange server, unless you have a backup – from which it would take days to recover. It does, however, have every conceivable feature that a mail server might need, but you’d better have a pair of brown trousers handy when it all goes wrong.

16 Nov

GOOGLE DRIVE – SYNC TO THE CLOUD

If you have a Google Mail account (G-Suite or gmail.com) you can take advantage of Google Drive to share files within your organisation. Download the program here:

https://tools.google.com/dlpage/drive/index.html?hl=en

and configure it with your gmail address. An icon appears in your system tray and will allow you to drag files over, at which point the files will be copied to the cloud. They are synchronied as well, so any changes will be replicated in the cloud. Other users can also download and install the Google Drive software to access the files and make changes, add new files etc.

googledrive

16 Nov

GO GOOGLE APPS (G-SUITE) FOR SPAM PREVENTION

I have been recommending to my customers that they move to the gmail platform to host their email, you keep your own domain (you don’t have to be @gmail.com) but you benefit from their unbelievably good antivirus and antispam controls. It’s £3.30 per month per user so a bit more than brightnet, but you get 30GB of space per user, which is much more than I offer. You also get a calendar, you can share each other’s calendars too, and the gmail mobile app makes things easy for mobiles and iPads.

Eventually, I am planning to move all my customers off the brightnet server which is getting more and more spam, so let me know if this sounds sensible for you. I have migrated around 8 of my customers so far and all have said it’s much better.

p.s. Aliased accounts are FREE, so you can reduce your costs by creating aliases that forward to personal email acounts, or by eliminating mailboxes that are seldom used.

gmaillogo

14 Nov

RUNNING A FREE 5 USER MAIL SERVER

Ability Mail Server has a free 5 user version, so for a home or small office sharing a small 1GB mailbox like that offered by BT, this could be ideal for you. It would also be good for a company that wants to make their email available “offline”. The setup would go something like this:

  1. Install the mail server and configure domain and users on a PC that is always ON
  2. Configure “POP3 retrieval” of incoming email from your ISP
  3. Configure your ISP as smarthost to deliver outgoing email
  4. Connect users to your local mail server, using IMAP (or POP3)

You could also use Mailstore Home to archive really old email into a fast, searchable database.

http://download.codecrafters.com/ams.exe

amsmainsmall

12 Nov

MAILSTORE – ARCHIVE PST OR EVEN GMAIL

So now you can use a free piece of software (or purchase if you are archiving regularly) to EXPORT your emails from a PST, GMAIL, EXCHANGE OR IMAP and then search them quickly.

MailStore Server is one of the world’s leading solutions for email archiving, management and compliance for small and medium-sized businesses. Trusted by over 35,000 organizations in 100 countries. MailStore Home lets you archive your private email from almost any email source and search through them extremely quickly. You will never lose emails again. FREE VERSION FOR HOME USERS.

http://www.mailstore.com/en/mailstore-home-email-archiving.aspx

mailstore1

mailstore2

9 Nov

AMAZON CLOUD STORAGE – REVISITED

It’s been years since I looked at AWS and cloud-related services from Amazon, but happily I took a look recently and can report some good news: You can use the very nice “O-Drive” product as an interface to Amazon and you’ve got yourself a nice Dropbox alternative. Download and install the two necessary files after signing up for each service:

odrive2 odrive3

Now, right click a folder you want to upload and off you go!

odrive1

7 Nov

MAIL DELIVERY 550 5.7.1 ERROR

GOT IT!

If you get this error it is most likely a “mailing list” as the receiver and the mailing list is closed to outside recipients.

The mail system <clsh@thecapitolgroup.co.uk>: host 109.228.47.115[109.228.47.115] said: 550
5.7.1 steve@brightnet.co.uk (headers) may not send mail to
clsh@thecapitolgroup.co.uk (in reply to end of DATA command)
Original-Recipient: rfc822;clsh@thecapitolgroup.co.uk
Action: failed
Status: 5.7.1
Diagnostic-Code: smtp; 550 5.7.1 steve@brightnet.co.uk (headers) may not send
mail to clsh@thecapitolgroup.co.uk

6 Nov

DRAG AND DROP PDF CREATION

You can create PDF files really easily from other types of documents by simply dragging and dropping onto an icon on the desktop using PrimoPDF which is FREE.

Install from http://filehippo.com/download_primopdf

primo1

Drag your document onto the PrimoPDF icon:-
primo2

and voila, a new PDF is created:-
primo3

The PDF is created automatically and saved to the same location as the original document, in this case a Word doc. Now, how cool is that?

 

4 Nov

STREAMING MOVIES OR TV SHOWS TO YOUR PANASONIC TV

If you have an Android or iPhone, you can “cast” movies to your TV via sites like Putlocker. I’m not sure of the legalities of certain films, but for free movies and shorts it is certainly possible and quite easy to do. First, go into the Google Play Store and find an app called Web Video Cast:-

casting1

Install and launch the app and look for putlockers.ch, for example. Now within putlocker find a movie or tv show and cast it to your Chromecast, DLNA-compatible, Roku or other TV or device. You may need to scan or re-scan to find the device first.

4 Nov

MDAEMON – CONTENT FILTER TO ADD CORPORATE SIGNATURE

With Mdeamon mail server you can add a personal signature, domain signature or server signature so that a standard message or disclaimer can be added automatically to the footer of all emails sent out from the server but you can also do this via the Content Filter and doing it this way gives you much more control over the standard default signature feature. In this real example below, an HTML-based logo and disclaimer is being added but if the email has “RE:” or “Re:” in the subject, or if the recipient happens to be “WHSMITH” then the processing stops and no disclaimer footer is added. You can even sort your mail users into GROUPS and then control which groups the footer is added on to. Cool!

contentfilter1 contentfilter2

3 Nov

WINDOWS SERVICES – STOP AND START

If you have a Windows service you want to be able to stop and start easily, then you can create a DOS batch file that sits on your desktop and is easy to launch. First, find out the name of the service – sometimes this is not the same as it’s display name. For example, Print Spooler is actually “spooler”. Get the actual service name from the service Properties page:

services

services2

Now create a text document on your Desktop containing the following code:

net stop spooler

and save as *.bat or *.cmd (change the file extension). If there are spaces in the service name, add quotes around it:

services3

You can now double-click the cmd file to either stop or start the service:

services4

This could be useful to reboot Exchange, iTunes, or a dodgy Print queue (as you probably know if you’ve ever owned an iPad or Laserjet, Apple and HP software is a joke).

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31 Oct

AAAA RECORD NOW REQUIRED BY GMAIL

If you are forwarding email to Gmail on your Exchange or MDaemon Server, etc, and you have IPv6 ENABLED in Windows, you now need to create a PTR record for IPv6 addresses — what are known in the biz as AAAA records.

First, before the record exists:-

aaaa

Addinig the AAAA record:-

aaaa2

After DNS has propogated:-

aaaa3

Or you can just DISABLE IPv6. This seems crazy to me because Google are effectively punishing you for using IPv6, when they should be encouraging you to use it. Don’t forget most ISPs and registrars don’t allow you to alter the PTR records of the hosting server you are using because most ISPs suck. For example if you want the IP address (v4 or v6) to report back to any calling server that you really are xxxxx.com or whatever, good luck with that! Real spammers must be laughing all the way to the bank.

26 Oct

SOCKET ERROR 10060 – THAT OLD CHESTNUT!

If you get a socket error 10060 then outgoing port 25 is being blocked. So there you are, sending an email and it will just not go. What’s happened? I tell you what’s happened, your ISP has just flicked a switch and blocked you on port 25. Give them a call/email/chat and tell them, they will hopefully come back to you within the hour to tell you “it’s our policy to block port 25” but they’ve now enabled it for you. Oh, thankyou, thankyou, thankyou. Somewhere a toilet flushes.

26 Oct

HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR GUT MICROBIOME IN A DAY

http://www.drnorthrup.com/how-to-improve-your-gut-microbiome-in-a-day/

By now you probably know how important your gut health is to your overall health. If not, you need to! 80 percent of your immune system is in your microbiome, your body’s bacteria, which help your body with just about every process, including helping you to digest your food, think clearly and even maintain a healthy weight.

The good new is that you can change your gut microbiome. You see, the average lifespan of a bacterium in your microbiome is 20 minutes! So you have the opportunity every time you eat to begin to change the population of your gut microbiome. This is good news because it means that rather than having to subscribe to theories, such as the Paleo diet, which assumes our genes evolve so slowly that we all need to eat like cavemen, we can begin to change our gut microbiome (and thus it’s genes) one meal at a time, and even achieve a healthy gut very quickly.

microbiome_280702511

Here are my suggestions for following the 4Rs and improving your gut microbiome starting today:

Eat the Right Foods. Your gut microbiome responds to what you feed it. When you regularly eat a variety of healthy, non-processed foods, your microbiome becomes programmed to work for you. The more varied your diet, the more flexible your microbiome becomes, allowing for that occasional dessert.

  1. Remove the sugar and processed foods from your diet. Refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods get absorbed quickly into your small intestine without any help from your microbes. That means your gut microbes stay hungry so they begin snacking on the cells that line your intestines, causing what we call Leaky Gut. Your intestinal lining is meant to be a strong barrier between your gut and the rest of your body. When your intestinal wall becomes leaky, particles of food enter your bloodstream, causing your immune system to attack them, and ultimately your own tissues. This leads to inflammation and whole cascade of conditions, including autoimmunity. Sugar also feeds organisms like Candida Albican, which also attacks your intestinal wall and can lead to a systemic Candida infection.
  2. Get your carbohydrates from vegetables and low-sugar fruits. Eating a lot of leafy green vegetables will help plant your gut with healthy and diverse bacteria. Dr. Kellman also recommends eating radishes, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, jicama, asparagus, carrots, and, of course, garlic and turmeric. Be sure to get a balance of healthy fats and protein with each meal as well.
  3. Include fermented foods in your diet. Fermented foods seed your gut with healthy bacteria. Eat sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, kefir, yogurt (not processed), and kombucha. These foods are rich in prebiotics.
  4. Try a food elimination diet to determine if you have any food allergies. Do you often have cramping, gas, or stomach pain after eating? You may have a food sensitivity or allergy. The most common food allergies or sensitivities are to cow’s milk, soy, peanuts (nuts), corn, eggs and wheat (gluten). Some people find they feel even better if they eliminate all grains, including oats, quinoa, and spelt. But start with wheat at the very least. Do this for a few weeks and see if your symptoms improve. Also stay away from artificial sweeteners, alcohol, and coffee!
25 Oct

CANNOT CLICK HYPERLINKS IN OUTLOOK

Suddenly, you can’t click links in Outlook but it was working fine yesterday. Have you recently installed Chrome?? If so, set Firefox, Maxthon or IE as your default browser, test those hyperlinks again in Outlook. Working now? Set Chrome as default now and it should work OK now.

outlook_hyperlinks

25 Oct

HOW TO BOOT INTO SAFE MODE ON WINDOWS 10

Whenever you buy, install or upgrade to a Windows 10 machine you should do this…

bcdedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy legacy

windows-10-command-prompt-bcdedit

…from an administritive command prompt, then F8 will be available at boot time should you ever need it. As standard, the F8 boot option is disabled. They’ve done it to shave 2 seconds off the boot up time so that people think new systems boot faster than old systems.

25 Oct

HOW TO CHANGE THE DEFAULT SAVING LOCATION IN OUTLOOK

Are you fed up with finding the attachment location you have specified every time when launching Outlook? In this tutorial, we will show you how to change the default attachment location. After that, the specified attachment saving folder will be opened automatically every time you save the attachments even though you restarting the Outlook. Go to this location in the registry (using regedit) and add DefaultPath, then set it to “C:\Attachments”, or whatever.

change-default-attachment-location-4

Shout out to https://www.extendoffice.com