I *really* hate computers

For those that regularly read my blog, or even know me, you will know that I have a webserver that is stored in a UK data center. Well, for the last few days it has not been well.

In fact, not being well is an understatement. For four days running, the machine has hard locked between 2am and 5am EVERY DAY. The /var/log/messages just suddenly stops, and no errors are recorded anywhere.

I've disabled all the cron jobs, and I'm hoping that it works ... I did think it was the back scripts, which run between 1.30 and 4am normally, but disabling them didn't make any difference (and the backups run fine manually ...).

I'm stumped :( I'm down that way on Monday, and am going to try and make space in the day to drop in and kick it. Hard.

Tom the Sysadmin

Today, while chatting to one of our (exceptionally talented) SysAdmin's at work, I discovered that he has blog - mostly a log of what he gets up to (technically, of course) and the odd rant. Makes interesting reading.

Curiously, I'm on his blog roll, so I've done the courteous thing and added him to mine - and put his site into my RSS feeder :)

The thing that narks me is that his top banner graphic is MUCH more exciting than mine. I wish I had an ounce of artistic flair!

Go read, and learn about everything Cisco - here.

Mitel 5330 / 5340 IP Phone

11209_5340_140_th I've got a new gadget. Well, if you can call a phone a gadget.

It's a Mitel 5340 IP Phone. Lots and lots of details here on the Mitel site, so I will not bore you too much.

There is only a couple of problems so far ... Mitel market the phone as a dual mode compatible (SIP and MiNET) - as we don't have a Mitel PBX in the office, I was planning on using the SIP mode. But can I find out how to switch it over ... can I hell. There seems to be documentation out there for the 5200 series, but the steps must be different - at least, when I tried it on the 5340 it didn't make a difference. Unfortunately Mitel's response is "talk to a dealer", and the dealer's response is "buy a Mitel PBX" things don't look too promising. I hope they are not mis-selling these phones.
I've sent another e-mail off to a couple of people at Mitel - time will tell...

The other cool thing about these phones is they have a companion tool so you can manage it, dial etc from your PC - it's done by a company called Ingenius Software. Unfortunately they don't currently have a download on their site for the 5340, but they tell me it will be there this week. Mind you, I'm not sure if it will work with the phone in SIP mode as it might need to talk to a Mitel PBX for its functionality. Time will tell :)

Hopefully I'll get to use my phone soon ;)

Oh, and I found the Ingenius Software founders blog. Here is a post where he talks about the app in question :). Reminds me of snap a number, which targets the Asterisk PBX - but nicer!

PGP / GPG, Outlook 2007 and Vista

At work we use PGP / GPG encryption when sending around anything that could count as a little sensitive - such as quotes, estimates, usernames and passwords.

Unfortunately, as I'm running on Vista this has proved difficult to get any of the existing suites to behave. The best was the PGP Desktop suite, but it literally takes over - and slows the machine down horribly.

The OpenPGP package kind of works. But the Outlook plugin doesn't correctly sign / encrypt the email - well, it does, but not "nicely".

So unfortunately I'm left without PGP / GPG support on my windows machines again - and am back using it through KMail and Evolution on my development Linux box. Down right annoying.

I did however fine Sharp Privacy ... Now all I need is time!

Sage Accounting - Users and Developers

It does amaze me how little information is available online for Users and Developers of the Sage Accounting packages - specifically Line 50 (this is really the only one that I have experience with from Sage).

So, I thought I'd at least start blogging about my occasional discoveries, issues and general complains.

First off, a good link to add to your favorites if you are Sage user or Developer: www.sageforum.co.uk

Now I'm off to battle the evil forces known as the Sage Report Designer in 2007 ... Wish me luck.

Blocking Comments

I hate having to block IP Addresses from my server / site, but this time I don't think I've had any choice ... For anyone who runs a blog, you might want to block: This IP address has logged over 300 spam comments here in the last 24 hrs! Not bad going really. I reported to the abuse them on their network, but so far nothing has changed - hence the block. Hopefully it will do the trick for now.

Note to self; always check the price ..

Well, about three weeks ago I took one of my watches into the local jewelers to get repaired - the winder had dropped off and couldn't be found anywhere.

Anyway, its an old(ish) Omega that used to be my grandfathers (who is no longer with us), so I wanted to get it repaired.

I picked it up today. And am £69.50 lighter. Almost £70 for a winder! I didn't cough. Much. If it had been any other watch ...

Techinline - Updates

Back in December I wrote about a new startup company that was providing a remote assistance / take-over-someone's-pc tool - like Gotomypc, Remote Desktop etc.

Well, last month they released a MAJOR update to their modules.

They added:
- Firefox support
- Screen scaling
- Keyboard app conflict fixes (Dell's (and others) applications that watch for special key presses were causing problems)
- Speed boost!

I must say, as far as I'm now concerned it really blows away the competition - it's REALLY fast now!

Why not pop over to www.techinline.com and signup for the trial? I bet you will not be disappointed.

VMWare Console Manager - v1.0.5.1

UPDATED: Please note that all the Freeware applications can now be found on my company website (but they are still free!). Another update to my VMWare tool ... This time nothing major, just adding support to directly run a session via command line. For example: VCM.exe vcmfile sessionname Also, I've now tested under Mono 1.2.4 - and it works! So you Linux users can start joining the fun too! Downloads, as ever, are on the Freeware page.