Interesting Stuff

Microsoft Network is down….apparently??

I laughed myself silly yesterday when I received an email from Microsoft Support with the following:

“I am sorry for the late reply. Unfortunately our Microsoft network is down since last week. All the domain controllers had to rebuild again. The email system is down, internet is down. So we are unable to communicate with our existing customers.

I will contact you as soon our infrastructure is ready.

Sorry for inconvenient.”

Best excuse for poor service from Microsoft yet!

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Caffine FAQ

Ever wanted to know what all those cups of coffee are really doing to you, check this little gem out: http://coffeefaq.com/caffaq.html

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Google hacks and a Google Proxy

I was reading over at www.lifehack.org about a nice google hack. Ever had a site that your employer or university blocked. All you need is the following url and change www.expample.com to the site you’d like to visit.

http://www.google.com/translate?langpair=en|en&u=www.example.com

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Yahoo buys del.icio.us, whats up with that?

So delicious has joined the Yahoo team. For some ultimately strange reason, I just don’t like Yahoo. I really cannot think of any definative facet of Yahoo that turns me off but still, I just dislike them. Now that delicious has joined them I am somewhat disappointed, is there anything else out there like delicious?

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Faulty IPAQ Update

Having just gotten back from a week away I returned to find that my IPAQ had been shipped back to me. Excited I opened it up and tested the screen…it didn’t work. Not only that but they had managed to put someone elses paperwork in my box. So after being bounced around the HP call centre for a while I managed to get a lady who left a message with the technician to call me back….the saga continues.

Update: So I finally got through to someone helpful at HP who without question said someone would be there shortly to collect my IPAQ to have it shipped back to NSW (Teleplan) for repairs. The scarry thing was that the delivery guy was at my desk within about 10min. I didn’t even have the unit pack away yet….To be continued.

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Firefox 1.5 Released

The new version of Firefox, Firefox 1.5 has been released. Straight from the release notes:

  • Automated update to streamline product upgrades. Notification of
    an update is more prominent, and updates to Firefox may now be half a
    megabyte or smaller. Updating extensions has also improved.
  • Faster browser navigation with improvements to back and forward button performance.
  • Drag and drop reordering for browser tabs.
  • Improvements to popup blocking.
  • Clear Private Data feature provides an easy way to quickly remove personal data through a menu item or keyboard shortcut.
  • Answers.com is added to the search engine list.
  • Improvements to product usability including descriptive error
    pages, redesigned options menu, RSS discovery, and “Safe Mode”
    experience.
  • Better accessibility including support for DHTML accessibility
    and assistive technologies such as the Window-Eyes 5.5 beta screen
    reader for Microsoft Windows. Screen readers read aloud all available
    information in applications and documents or show the information on a
    Braille display, enabling blind and visually impaired users to use
    equivalent software functionality as their sighted peers.
  • Report a broken Web site wizard to report Web sites that are not working in Firefox.
  • Better support for Mac OS X (10.2 and greater) including profile migration from Safari and Mac Internet Explorer.
  • New support for Web Standards including SVG, CSS 2 and CSS 3, and JavaScript 1.6.
  • Many security enhancements.

Point your browser here to get the latest version.

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Use Encarta from MSN

I found this one over on Greg Huges’ blog this afternoon. All you do is add encarta@conversagent.com as a contact in MSN Messenger then open a conversation window. The first thing I asked was, “what time is it?”Try it out, it is very cool!

I am definately not going to get anything done for the next few hours……

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The Ultimate Troubleshooting Pack

I’ve been working as a Tier-2 support person for some time now and there seems to be a number of tools that I use frequently to get out of trouble.

 

 

    • Ethereal – The best Packet Capture tool you can get for windows.

 

    • Adaware – My preferred adware removal tool.

 

    • Stinger – A tool developed by McAfee that is a stand-alone utility that detects and removes the most recent/popular viruses. It is the fastest virus scanning tool around.

 

    • BartPE – A bootable CD that boots a reduced version of Windows XP. This is the ultimate debugging tool! It allows you to boot a PC into a Windows PE like environment and scan for viruses/adaware, backup files, browse the next, partition disks, restore deleted files….the list is endless.(A MUST HAVE!!)

 

    • RootKit Revealer – If you don’t know what a RootKit is then I’d suggest a bit of googling. This is the best tool to detect if you’ve got one.

 

    • TCPView – An excellent utility from Sysinternals that lets you see all the active connections on a machine.

 

Stayed tunned, I’ll update this post as I use the tools.

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Windows XP Setup and a Hard Drive with Linux

A few days ago I had to install Windows XP on a PC that I was selling to a friend. This usually simply exercised turned into a night of lost sleep because Windows XP apparently doesn’t like hard drives formatted with Linux. I popped the Windows XP disk in the drive, pressed any key to continue and then….nothing. I tried another Windows XP cd, thinking the last one must have been faulty. Nothing, just a black screen. I swapped out the CD drive and tried again, nothing! In desperation I tried the Linux (Fedora Core 4) CD which worked perfectly. Grrrr!

I then tried an old Windows 2000 cd I had and strangely it worked. Bermused, I formatted the drive with the Windows 2000 disk cancelled setup and then tried to boot off the Windows XP disk; it work first time. For some strange reason Windows XP setup just didn’t like the fact that I previously had Linux installed. It would be interesting to hear from someone at Microsoft about the reasons for this problem….

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Windows Command Files

I happened to have deleted the Show Desktop icon in my quicklaunch bar the other day. Now I didn’t realize how much I used this lovely little button until it was gone. So I search with the mighty google and found the following:

 

It is fairly easy to restore the “Show Desktop” button that usually resides in the Quick Launch toolbar, if you have removed it.

Open notepad and paste the following:

[Shell] Command=2
IconFile=explorer.exe,3
[Taskbar] Command=ToggleDesktop

Save the file as “Show Desktop.scf” in C:\Documents and Settings\<YOURNAME>\Application Data\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch where YOURNAME is the username of the account that is missing the icon.

What is over at http://faq.arstechnica.com/link.php?i=1825

Now I’m wondering, what are these .scf files and where are they documented? More importantly what else do they do?

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