Just a quick post because I wanted to give a worthy bit of software a shout-out.
Double Driver from http://www.boozet.org/dd.htm
This little free program lets you back up all of the drivers on your PC for safe keeping. This is really handy if you want to save them all before a major update or re-installation. I also use it a lot on PCs with older operating systems (like Windows XP) because sometimes they are a real pain to try and find from the official OEM website (HP, I’m looking at you). It’s the kind of utility you wished Microsoft had just built directly into the Windows Device Manager.
We are in the process of changing over our Print Server and the first step on the plan was to get some data from all the computers on my network about which printers they had installed. This needed to grab the data from all users on all PCs so the only logical way to do this was to create logon script below and let it run for a week. In a previous post I discussed how PowerShell Export-CSV turns lovely tables in to garbage but now I needed to get a CSV from hundreds of separate text files …
Users press buttons.
If something stops working as expected, they will probably press every button they can see before reaching out to IT for help.
While I’m all for self-service when it comes to IT issues, we had a recent problem where a user managed to perform an NVRAM reset* on one of our HP LaserJet printers! This wipes out the serial number, page counts etc. and replaces them with XXXXXXXXXX. Unfortunately the page counts seem lost for good but to reset the serial number you need to send PJL commands directly to the printer.
This used to be done by connecting a PC to the printer via a parallel cable. You would then enter some DOS commands to copy a “PJL” file onto the printer for processing
As I am writing this in 2013, I only have network printers and Windows 7 x64 to hand. After a lot of digging I managed to work out how to do it.
Following on from my promise to do better blogging in 2013, here’s something that frustrated me in PowerShell.
It stems from me being very much a beginner still in the PoSh ranks. Although, I’m using it more and more of late and starting to get the hang of it all
One issue I recently struggled with was when a user asked me if I could create a spreadsheet containing all the London staff phone numbers and email addresses. This sounded easy enough, I ran the following line of code and was happy with my results
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog. They do this every year and it’s one of the reasons I love using WordPress as a blogging platform!
Here’s an excerpt:
19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 110,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
Click here to see the complete report.
It seems like a long time since my last proper technical blog post, I blame OneNote for replacing my need to publish all my notes online! I intended to do at least one article a month but I was shocked to discover I only did 6 new articles in 2012, although I did update many existing ones. Even so, I’ve been getting impressive page views and glad to see the technical articles becoming more popular than fluffy ones (like my old 2009 Windows 7 theme packs posts from 2009)
As it is a new year, and I’m soon to be starting a new role, I thought it’s about time to share some of my problems to help others stuck in the same situation. Check back very soon for fresh, interesting and (hopefully) useful articles
You may be wondering why you would bother upgrading your existing Windows XP and Vista machines to Windows 7, when Windows 8 has just been released.
Whether you are a home user or a large company there are great benefits to be had from upgrading and using your new Windows 7 PC as a stepping stone to Microsoft’s latest and greatest.
Windows XP recently celebrated its 10th birthday, a major achievement for it to keep such a stronghold but also a major issue when it becomes time to change to something new. The are always scare stories when Microsoft releases a new OS. The fact of the matter is, change often creates such fear-mongering when really its an opportunity waiting to be taken advantage of.
Businesses stayed away from Windows 7 for 2 major reasons
- Windows Vista had a terrible launch, fraught with bad reviews and needing an extra expense of upgrading hardware
- Due to people sticking with XP, business software wasn’t upgraded and smaller bespoke software would cost a fortune to redevelop for a new OS
Nowadays, this isn’t as much of an issue. Windows 7 runs easily on hardware over 4 years old and really flies on the latest kit. All major applications have been updated or can be delivered via modern methods like application virtualisation or by using tools like Microsoft’s free application compatibility toolkit or XP Mode. OS deployment technologies have moved on too, meaning you can upgrade people from XP to 7 in a couple of hours.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel like any major browsers have got their bookmarks/favourites features quite right. One thing I dislike about Google Chrome is when you use the omnibox it favours search results over bookmarks.
Luckily, to make searching them easier, you can give yourself one-click access to Chrome’s bookmark manager by adding this link to your Bookmark bar
Last month I took on my wife’s challenge to abstain from any social networking over the six weeks of Lent. Some thought it couldn’t be done but I endured and think I may have come through it a little wiser.
At first, it was a real mental struggle. I can remember the very first day when I almost broke out in a sweat when not checking in to my train station on Foursquare. I could sense the long road ahead and could feel all my social clout slipping away from me. This was no joke and it helped me realise just how addicted to it I was.
Fortunately, the initial day was the only real struggle. I was occasionally tempted by a few notifications slipping through on my phone but once they were all properly turned off it was surprisingly easy to leave it all behind, refreshing in fact.
I’m sure a lot of us use social networking too much. By too much I mean using it,
- for procrastination,
- at inappropriate times and places,
- first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
This is becoming the latest addiction for our generation, and although not as harmful as drugs or gambling etc, it can cause a disruption in your real life and actually make you less social with the people you see on a day to day basis.
And now for something a little different. The true(-ish) story of how I got my new job as a SysAdmin for LinkedIn …
Once upon a time, there was a country boy from the shire of Bedford. One lucky day he received a Windows Phone 7 smartphone from the wizards at Microsoft. It let him do lots of magical things. His favourite trick was to check-in using the Foursquare spell. He got so good at using this spell he managed to conjure himself into the mayor of Bedford train station. Continue reading