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Saturday, 22 October 2011

When you have invest or fail

Often people don't invest in their business IT, can we keep it going another year? Its your job as support to make it work, I don't have the money right now.

If a server is six years old and it's done 24/7 for that time, it's tired. Full stop it will not perform as it did when you bought it.

Would a car be the same after six years no matter how many services it had had? Why would IT be different, if your business was to drive a van and your van is always breaking down would you buy a new van or see the business fail?

IT is no different, we all have to invest, year on year, otherwise we find old unreliable, out of warranty, end of life applications and the path out is really painful as everything has to catch up six years.

Invest every year, gradually, make IT like the utilities, something we cannot be without and budget for it annually and save that pain you will feel when services fail and your core business suffers.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Why presentations are dull

I have just been to a conference, a great one as it happens but there were some dull moments. Those presentations and PowerPoint.

Why are we still watching PowerPoint with clip art? It's not 1998. Learning can be enjoyable and enthralling, look at what the late Jobs could with an audience.

People want to be entertained, amused, amazed even. We in the technology business need to make our ideas appeal to the masses, to those that think it's all geek talk.

So how do we do it? Well what about simple You Tube skits? All you need is an iPhone or similar and you can direct a quick video of your idea.

Pictures say a thousand words they say, it's why breaking news is 24/7 and always has mobile footage or CCTV.

People are voyeuristic, so let them watch. Use You Tube or Join Me to share your ideas and services visually.

When you present captivate, don't become a twitter hash tag #yawn #powerpoint #so90s

Thursday, 13 October 2011

What do you do with your computer when you leave work?

Most of us use a computer at work, some of work shifts and share that computer with others and some of us have laptops that we take home and do more work on, a bit like me.  But most of us I guess have a computer at work and when we go home we forget about it until the morning.

So do you shut it down, lock it or perhaps you just turn the monitor off and go home?  Well working as we do in support we often access computers out of  hours to update applications and perform some manual maintenance.  What do I often find?  Computers not only left on and logged on, but documents wide open or online accounts logged on.

I have seen Hotmail, OWA, Amazon all logged on and with cached credit cards, documents with confidential data open to be seen, all of this on computers in offices that can and will be accessed by other people.  I don't think people think it matters, but life is more and more online and in a digital format, would you leave your passport, house keys and wage slip on your desk?  I doubt it.  But your online life seems to be fine to leave lying around for everyone to look at.

OK so thats a bit of a rant.  But what about those important documents we in support have to backup?  You have them open on your computer, yes I will get a snap shot these days but I know how annoyed you will be with me if that computer reboots overnight due to a power cut and that presentation is corrupt and its all our fault in support.

Ok so thats another rant.  I dont do it to annoy people, really I dont.  Computers are work tools for employees, they help people make a business do what it does. I run a business and what we do is important to us, to me and to all our staff, they have mortgages and kids and if we fail they all fail.  It matters to take care of your computer and the work you do on it.

At the end of the day close all your applications so that we can backup all the important data, secure the information by not leaving it all over your screen for the cleaner to see, and don't forget all that energy that is wasted leaving the computer on all night.  Thats our future and our leccy bill being wasted, both mean a lot to my business.

IOS5 update errors

If you are upgrading your iPhone or iPad to IOS5 then no doubt you will have ran into some of the cryptic error codes that Apple dishes up for you when things go wrong.

Here is a KB from Apple to help you with those.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

The end of the Small Business Server Era?

How much longer left has the Microsoft Small Business Server product go left?  With Office 365 and the multitude of hosted emails solutions out there, does Microsoft see no point in carrying on this product line?

Well, there is no official word on this but it has been noticed that the SBS 2008 exam is not longer valid for any certification at Microsoft yet this product is still in life.  That has not happened before, so it is either a mistake, which I would never rule out at Microsoft or they are moving away from SBS as they feel SBS people will move to the cloud.

Now SBS Diva knows about these things and it is her blog I reference on this here.

I have a lot of SBS customers and nearly all of them want to keep their data on premise, the reasons are mostly that they have a fear of their data not being close to them, their Internet connection is DSL and therefore cannot be relied upon for business continuity and finally because they are of a generation that bought a server every three years and backup by swapping a tape once a day.

The world of IT is moving faster than it ever has and those that do not move with it will be left behind.  I am not saying on premise has had its day but if Microsoft do finish with SBS at 2011 then those who look at cloud as a hybrid solution now will be ones who move with the times.

I know a lot of customers find technology hard to follow and just want that box in the corner and that's it.  But they also want 24/7 access on their iPhones, iPad and to work from anywhere. That box in the corner just won't cut it, it barely cuts it now, it will have no chance in a few years.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Outlook 2010 - None of your email accounts could send to this recipient

I had a really good problem today with sending emails from Outlook 2010. The user could not send to an email address as each time it bounced back with a NDR instantly that said

From: System Administrator 
Sent: 07 October 2011 12:11 
Subject: Undeliverable: XYZ XYZ

Your message did not reach some or all of the intended recipients.

 Subject: FW: XYZ XYX 
 Sent: 07/10/2011 12:11

The following recipient(s) cannot be reached:

'' on 07/10/2011 12:11 
 None of your e-mail accounts could send to this recipient.

Everytime I sent an email this NDR turned up, I sent to the email from my Gmail and it went no problems, I sent to it from this Exchange Server in another session and it sent.  So I think it must be a Outlook 2010 issue for this user.  The problem turned out not to be the N2K file as this doesn't exist in Outlook 2010 but the properties and Internet Type of the email address.

To see this I opened an email, addressed it to the recipient and then double clicked the address and selected the View More options for interacting with this person and then Options.  In here I could see that the recipient email address was set to MAIL TO and not SMTP.  I changed it to SMTP and the message could be sent.

I real stickler this was to find but I am glad I got there in the end.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Uninstall Acronis Backup & Recovery Manually

If you are having problems uninstalling the Acronis Backup & Recovery10 application then they have this tool here. that really makes things simple!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Make sure you have an SPF Record in DNS

If you do not have a SPF record in DNS then you need to get one to make sure your emails do not accidentally get detected as Spam by mail filters.  You can use this handy wizard from Microsoft to determine the configuration needed for this.