The ranting of an IT Professional


October 28, 2008  2:49 PM

Vendor Knowledgebase’s



Posted by: Jason Tramer
IT professional

This is a mixed bag if I have ever seen one. Some vendor’s out there have knowledgebase’s so concise and breeming with information in a well indexed and easily searchable manner that it makes me want to compose a song in their honour. Some vendors however have knowledgebase’s so empty, or jammed with useless or antiquated information, or presented in a poor manner where your are never able to locate the article you need that you just want to go to their HQ and smack them.

I think this is pretty straightforward idea that when you produce a product you should want people to be able to fix the product as easily as possible. Obstacles and challenges in the movies are great but finding a bug fix on a vendor site should not warrant  difficulties worthy of the next Indiana Jones flick. I am going to quote a unnamed vendor rep who once told me in response to a question about getting better info about their product in their knowledgebase “It doesn’t look good for us if we post all of these issues”, to which I responded “I understand, however it looks even worse when we waste 10 hours trying to fix a problem only to call your tech support line and find out that it is a known issue with a easy work around”.

I would like a make a specific mention of Blackberry’s knowledgebase (http://www.blackberry.com/btsc/). I have used this knowledgebase on several occasions and found that it was excellent. This is the example by which all other vendor knowledebase’s should be judged.

October 28, 2008  2:32 PM

Useful Utility for BES – HandheldCleanup



Posted by: Jason Tramer
BES

I encountered an odd issue yesterday. One of my users got a new blackberry, I removed and purged them from the BES and then set them up again for activation. However it would not activate. At first I thought it might be the blackberry but low and behold I was not able to activate them on our spare blackberry either. I created a test user and activated them fine so I knew it wasn’t a global problem with the BES server but I rebooted the BES server in any case but still no go.

I eventually resolved the issue by running handheldcleanup -u command. This exectuable is located in the utility folder of the Blackberry installation folder (C:\program files\research in motion\blackberry enterprise server\utility\handheldcleanup.exe). This command cleans up the BES database of any old data needing to be purged.


October 24, 2008  3:13 PM

Tough times ahead



Posted by: Jason Tramer
IT professional

I can remember clearly what the IT job market was like before 9/11. It was a glorious time when there were plenty of jobs for everyone. One could even get a job they weren’t quite qualified for since employers were so desperate for people. The market was great and employers had disposable income to burn, and then with one day the whole thing changed. Lay-off’s were common, including my own charming self, and budget’s were tight.

Fast forward to today and we are beginning to see the same thing all over again. Xerox announced today that they are cutting 3000 staff. Anyone with any level of foresight could tell you that HP is eyeing EDS like a fatty roast to trim.  This is just the beginning though, there is much more of this to com. From my experience when things get tight at a company this first thing that gets cut is IT.

Hopefully things get sorted out quickly because I for one have no desire to wax nostalgic in the unemployment line.


October 23, 2008  2:24 PM

Corrupt PST file when using Robocopy GUI



Posted by: Jason Tramer
PST, Robocopy

So this will teach me a lesson. Yesterday I praised Robocopy GUI, and then I used it. Every single PST file that got copied over became corrupted. Now I am not saying this is because of Robocopy GUI, it might have nothing to do with it, but still I think it’s worth mentioning. Lesson is learned though, I will no longer praise things.


October 22, 2008  5:16 PM

Robocopy GUI



Posted by: Jason Tramer
Robocopy

While I am usually the first to point out the flaw in things, I am not so cynical that I can’t still be impressed once in awhile. For everyone who has ever thought, “man I love the power of robocopy but why does it have be such a pain to use at times”, here is something you will enjoy. Robocopy GUI gives you all the robustness without the headache.

http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/OS-Enhancements/RoboCopy-GUI.shtml

You still need the robocopy executable (which you need to specify the location of in the app), but this takes care of all the hassle of the commandline switches.

Check it out!


October 20, 2008  9:10 PM

Watchguard – Limitation when setting up High Availability



Posted by: Jason Tramer
WatchGuard

I don’t expect the various hardware and software out there to be perfect, really I don’t. However what I do expect is when there is a limitation or problem with a product that the vendor documents it somewhere. It is such a waste of my time to fight with an “issue” for hours on end only to find out that it is a known issue. For example with the Watchguard Core’s. When setting up High Availability mode you have to set HA to run on one of the first 4 ports. If you set it on any of the latter ports it won’t work properly. No reason for this, it just won’t work.  While this can be a little annoying it really isn’t a huge deal IF you know about in advance. Given the fact that I couldn’t find documentation on this then hopefully this blog will save you the time that I lost.


October 14, 2008  9:55 PM

Blackberry – Calender not syncing on BES



Posted by: Jason Tramer
BES, Blackberry

Here is an issue I dealt with today. A user’s blackberry wasn’t synchronizing properly. Messages came through fine but not calender items. A check of the BES server showed everything fine in terms of settings. Here was the resolution, go into the blackberry, into calender, into options. Look for wireless synchronization, make sure it’s on, if it is on, turn it off, pull the battery. After you boot it back on, turn the wireless sync back on. Hope this helps.


October 10, 2008  3:51 PM

Unable to log into SQL



Posted by: Jason Tramer
IT professional

Here is the error

“An error has occurred while establishing a connection to the server.  When connecting to SQL Server 2005, this failure may be caused by the fact that under the default settings SQL Server does not allow remote connections. (provider: SQL Network Interfaces, error: 26 – Error Locating Server/Instance Specified)”

The soltuon? SQLServeragent service wasn’t running. Not a difficult problem in the scheme of things but is it too much to ask of software vendors to program in error messages that actually point you in the right direction?

How hard would it be to provide an error message like “The SQLserver agent service currently is running. Please go into the services MMC in order to enable it”.  Would that make people’s lives to simple?


October 9, 2008  7:14 PM

Print spooler issues



Posted by: Jason Tramer
IT professional

I have recently been fighting with a server with issues with the print spooler dying and needed to be restarted very often. I found this article which was really useful in fixing it.

http://windowswideopen.com/blog/2007/08/31/how_do_i_troubleshoot_the_windows_print_spooler_service_not_starting/


October 8, 2008  3:30 PM

Watchguard SSL VPN issues



Posted by: Jason Tramer
SSLVPN, WatchGuard

I encountered an issue with a setting up SSL VPN’s on Watchguard firewall’s.  When using AD integration you need to create a group called SSLVPN-Users as part of the proccess. In this case we wanted everyone to have access so we added Domain Users to the group. This doesn’t actually work, the client connects without errors but you are unable to ping any resources.. You need to specify to users here individually for this to function properly.


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