Friday, 30 July 2010

Remote Support: Get the Basics

Support Details

When it comes to supporting friends, family, whomever remotely - perhaps over the telephone - it is not unusual to spend extended amounts of time just answering the most basic of system detail questions.

A solution comes in the form of the Support Details website.

Granted, the detail returned isn't the most in-depth information and most computer literate users can gleam this kind of information without resorting to such measures, but can you guarantee that great aunt Nellie isn't going to quickly find out and tell you what her current internet facing IP address is...

Auntie Nellie can even email her details to you:

Auntie's email

That's the basics quickly dealt with.  Now Nellie, what was that problem again?

Hmm sounds like a toughie.

May need to use some remote access software to take a look.  Sounds like a job for my  LogMeIn Free Client with Embedded Credentials!

- Chris

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Sherlock - It's Good!

BBC Sherlock. Benedict Cumberbatch & Martin Freeman

Having finally got around to watching the first episode tonight, and unaccustomed as I am for posting about TV shows on this here Blog, I feel compelled to stick a quick post up about the new three part BBC mini series Sherlock

I like it!  I like it a lot!

Refreshing to see a bit of good old fashioned deduction rather than over reliance on forensics or cold case based crime drama.

As is often these days, with 1001 TV channels all pushing increasing amounts of drivel (Wife Swap / Eastenders / Hollyoaks, I'm talking to YOU), it's increasingly difficault to find any diamonds in this seemingly ever increasing river of *ahem* brown stuff.

When a diamond does pop up, it should be widely applauded.

Sure if I really really had to find issue, the plot could have been stronger, but don't forget there's a lot of ground to cover in the first episode even before Holmes and Watson get out to start solving crimes.

I stronly urge you to catch part one on BBC iPlayer.  You won't be disappointed.

- Chris

PS - We need to see more of Mycroft's aide... Hubba Hubba...

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Welcome What the.....? MarkIII

What the.....? Blog Mark II. RIP.
Bye Bye What the.....? Blog Mark II, hello Mark III.

I'm sure you'll agree, Mark III is a significant improvement over its predecessor in ease of use, navigation and hopefully page loading time.

I've tried to make the transition as painless as possible, and I like to think that all is well, but as with any such change its likely that some niggles still remain.  With a bit of luck we'll be fully shipshape in no time.

In the meantime, have fun and enjoy!

- Chris

Sunday, 25 July 2010

VMware ESX 4.1 Update to Build Number

Continuing series of VMware ESX update to build number tracking.

As always, it's a simple bit of info, often hard to find.

ESXi 4.1 = Build 260247 - Released 13 July 2010
ESXi 4.1 Update 1 = Build 348481 - Released 10 February 2011
ESXi 4.1 Update 2 = Build 502767 - Released 27 October 2011
ESXi 4.1 Update 3 = Build 800380 - Released 30 August 2012

Yes that's right ESX 4.1 has a LOWER build number than ESX 4.0 update 2!

An easy way to find build number from ESX console (i.e. without having to log into the VI Client) is to run:

vmware -v

For ESX 4.0, see VMware ESX 4.0 Update to Build Number
For ESX 3.5, see VMware ESX 3.5 Update to Build Number

- Chris

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Browser Extensions Link-around

End of the cord. Pic: j / f / photos
A quick link-around post detailing the browser extensions I usually install plus a bit of info on each.  The idea is to try and keep a frequently used extension list altogether and up to date.

Some of these extensions add functionality (British English Dictionary for example), some restrict functionality (Addblock Plus for example).  All in all, the goal for installing and using these extensions is make the web a bit more of a bearable, less annoying place.

The extensions listed should work on both Windows and Linux versions on the respective browsers.

The grand-daddy browser for extensions.  If it's available as an extension, chances are it's available for Firefox.

Some up and coming extensions, worthy of a mention.  Spell checking is built into Chrome, so that's one off the list to start with.

There you have it.

What's that?  Internet Explorer?  No sorry, don't use it.

OK, OK, just for you IE fans, have a look at IE7Pro.  With spell check, ad blocking and crash recovery to name just a some of the additional functionality this adds to IE, it should keep you IE fans happy for a while.

I've not used IE7Pro myself, but looks good.  Would be interested if there is anyway to incorporate the Easylist filters (as used with Firefox and Chrome) into the IE7Pro ad blocker...

 - Chris

Saturday, 17 July 2010

ARGH! Thrips!

It's that time of year again.

Only this time, I have a name for the enemy that plagues us.

Why it's thips (there is no singular term apparently).

Thrips (Order Thysanoptera) are tiny, slender insects with fringed wings (thus the scientific name, from the Greek thysanos (fringe) + pteron (wing)).

Other common names for thrips include thunderflies, thunderbugs, storm flies, thunderblights, and corn lice.

Here is a closer look:

Thrips, a closer look. Pic Wikipedia

Whilst thrips are harmless and totally uninterested in us humans, for the couple of weeks that they are about, these little buggers get everywhere!

In LCD screens:

Behind pictures:

Thrips in picture frame. Pic: ndrwfgg

Click here for supersize picture.  Can you see them?

When they land on you, they move around just enough to make you itch.

Millions of them.  Everywhere.  There is no escape!

I suppose, it's a small price to pay for living so close the beautiful garden of England countryside.  Ah well.

- Chris

Friday, 9 July 2010

Killing Blogger Comment Spam

Comments Pic: Miss Miah
I like comments.  They make blogging worthwhile.  Its good to feel engaged. 

However, Blogger's comment system is primitive to say the least. It's not really cutting it for me.

Well there is no way to blacklist serial comment spammers.  There is no way (that I have found) to even report comment spammers to a higher authority, whomever that maybe (Google?).
It's not that I've been receiving that much comment spam, but I have received some. And for me, some is too much already.

This page over at Project Honey Pot highlights the problem.  Looks like comments spamming is big!

So, what's the fix?
Dump the blogger comment system and move to something else. That something is Disqus.  Why Disqus?
  1. Built in spam filtering.  Oh yes!
  2. The ability to ban users by either email address and / or IP address.  You can do it with email, why not with blog comments?
  3. Threaded comments.  Nice when trying to track and reply to other comments
  4. Live comments. If your site is busy people will not have to hit refresh to see new comments
  5. Whenever you leave a comment on another Disqus enabled site you will be able to see and track all your comments from the Disqus profile screen. This is great if you are trying to remember where you left that comment on a blog a while ago
  6. Comment using Twitter or Facebook IDs. Users can use either to login and leave comments
  7. It's FREE!
Amongst others.

Rather than detail the whole process here, I'll link you to the TV Tech Girl's Blog here

Job done.  Go on I dare you to comment.............

- Chris

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