How to restart Windows from a Remote Desktop session

This is one that stumped me for a couple of years when the schools I worked for switched from macs to Windows machines.“  I loved the ability to use Remote Desktop to control machines.“  The problem I frequently ran into was the inability to restart the machines. When you clicked on the “Start” menu, the only options were to “Log Off” or “Disconnect” – no “Reboot”!

The solution is easy: all you need to do is hit CTRL-ALT-END, then Shutdown, and then choose the Restart option.

Office 2003 asking for location of SKUxxx.CAB

I was working on a machine at work today and after adding it to our domain and logging in for the firt time as myself, I kept getting errors where Office 2003 was asking for the location of a file called“ SKUxxx.CAB.“  I couldn’t track down the original CDs (this computer has the Small Business version installed on it – I have a million 2003 Professional, but they didn’t work).“  I thought I was out of luck and would have to buy another copu of Office to get this machine working when I ran across this tip at annoyances.org:

When Microsoft Office 2003 is asking for the location of SKUxxx.CAB, but won’t find
it when you provide the location of the install CD:

Go into the registry:

HKEY_Local_Machine
Software
Microsoft
Office
11.0
Delivery

Change CDCache to 0“  (not 2 or 1)

It worked like a charm, and I’m back to work again!

How to set up a signature in Microsoft Outlook 2003 Email

When looking for a guide on how to set up a signature in Microsoft Outlook, all of the guides I found were for Outlook 2007/2010 – so I thought I’d share my writeup for those other lost souls stuck on “legacy” software.

1)“ “ “ “ “  Select “Tools | Options…” from the menu in“ Outlook
Continue reading “How to set up a signature in Microsoft Outlook 2003 Email”

Posting WordPress blog posts on a “regular” webpage

The “root” of my webpage is just a standard static website.“  It’s treated me well for a long time, but I’ve been wanting to show the most recent blog posts on it.“  I know I could have redirected the main index page to the WordPress portion of my site, but didn’t want post dates on the homepage posts (in case I go an a bit of an unofficial sabbatical).“  The WordPress Coxex has a great page on Integrating WordPress with Your Website, but it was more that I wanted to get into.“  I’ve been burnt by putting “the loop” into custom coded pages before and didn’t relish having to re-code them every time a new version of WordPress came out.

I found an extremely easy way to do this via JavaScript with Feed2JS.“  Just fill in a simple web form with info about your website, generate some JavaScript and paste it into your html.“  I had the titles of my 4 most recent posts up in less than a minute.

If you’re interested in posting the content of a world-class blogger, you’ll have to look elsewhere, but if you want to see what the code for my site looks like, here it is:

<script language=”JavaScript” src=”http://feed2js.org//feed2js.php?src=http%3A%2F%2Ftjschmitz.com%2Fblog%2Ffeed%2F&amp;num=4″“  type=”text/javascript”></script>

All-Black logon screen on Windows 2003

Logging into the Windows 2003 Server felt like“  Zaphod Beeblebrox trying to fly Mr Hotblack Desiato’s spaceship:

“Every time you try to operate on of these weird black controls that are labelled in black on a black background, a little black light lights up black to let you know you’ve done it. What is this?”

How the heck are you supposed to log into that mess?

If“  you can manage to get logged in, either by guessing on the fields, or booting into safe mode where the right colors show up, it’s an easy registry fix to return the colors to normal (check the values and change any that are set to 0, but shouldn’t be.“  Or, just download the correct registry file here):

[HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Colors] 
"ActiveBorder"="212 208 200" 
"ActiveTitle"="0 84 227" 
"AppWorkSpace"="128 128 128" 
"Background"="0 78 152" 
"ButtonAlternateFace"="181 181 181" 
"ButtonDkShadow"="113 111 100" 
"ButtonFace"="236 233 216" 
"ButtonHilight"="255 255 255" 
"ButtonLight"="241 239 226" 
"ButtonShadow"="172 168 153" 
"ButtonText"="0 0 0" 
"GradientActiveTitle"="61 149 255" 
"GradientInactiveTitle"="157 185 235" 
"GrayText"="172 168 153" 
"Hilight"="49 106 197" 
"HilightText"="255 255 255" 
"HotTrackingColor"="0 0 128" 
"InactiveBorder"="212 208 200" 
"InactiveTitle"="122 150 223" 
"InactiveTitleText"="216 228 248" 
"InfoText"="0 0 0" 
"InfoWindow"="255 255 225" 
"Menu"="255 255 255" 
"MenuText"="0 0 0" 
"Scrollbar"="212 208 200" 
"TitleText"="255 255 255" 
"Window"="255 255 255" 
"WindowFrame"="0 0 0" 
"WindowText"="0 0 0" 
"MenuHilight"="49 106 197" 
"MenuBar"="236 233 216" 



Printing PDFs with a HP 1022n

I’ve got a user who was experiencing repeated issues printing PDFs to his HP 1022n printer.“  About every 5-10 days,printing would grind to a halt, and the Print Spooler would repeatedly crash.“  Usually a restart of the computer (or the Print Spooler service) would fix the problem, but it was rapidly becoming a major pain in the rear.

I found the cause – the LaserJet 1020 serier of printers are HOST based printers, while PCL support is needed to print PDF files.

The workaround is easy – in the Print dialog box for Acrobat Reader, click on the “Advanced” button in the bottom left hand corner:

(Click on the image to view a larger version)

In the Advanced Print Setup window, check on the box labeled “Print as image”.

(Click on the image to view a larger version)

With the “print as an image” selected, the HP 1022 can successfully print PDF files. Unfortunately, this setting doesn’t stay set -you will need to select it every time you go to print a file – another pain.“  It sure beats buying a more expensive (and more capable) printer!

BlackBerry Professional to BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express migration

When I started working for my new employer, one of the biggest problems staring me in the face was an aging BlackBerry Professional server. Running on an aging Windows 2000 server, this BB Professional version 4 server was licensed for 11 users, but was supporting over 20 BlackBerry users.“  It looked like the previous admin would set up users, and then delete them, adding other users.“  The deleted users would keep syncing until the server was rebooted.“  Not an ideal situation, to say the least.

The solution was obvious – migrate the users to the new BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express software.“  It’s free, has better support for Exchange 2007, and did I mention, that its free?“  I had it downloaded and installed on our Exchange server in a matter of minutes.“  I set up my BB on it, and soon had email flowing smoothly to it.“  The big problem was: how do I get 22 BlackBerries spread across two states in the hands of very non-technical users?“  Continue reading “BlackBerry Professional to BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express migration”

Attack of the killer robots

Today I had“  someone ask me how to keep bots off of their forum. They were seeing a noticed slowdown in the site when it was being indexed.“  That and they don’t want their “crazy cat lady talk” indexed on Google.

So here goes: if you want to keep Google off of your site – the easiest way is to add a file called robots.txt to the root directory of your website:

An example to disallow all robots would be:
User-agent: *
Disallow: /

With those 2 lines, all robots (including Google) will leave your site entirely alone.

If you wanted to disallow Google, but allow all others (like Yahoo, etc)
User-agent: Google
Disallow: /

User-agent: *
Disallow:

Everything you never wanted to know about the use of the robots.txt file is available at: http://www.robotstxt.org.

The best thing to keep in mind is that the “bad” bots will ignore robots.txt with wild abandon – doing their best to leave spammy comments for shoddy websites.“  For those bad boys you’ll need to block them by IP address, something we’ll address another day.

Intel Modular Server

Intel Modular ServerI’ve been very impressed with what I’ve been learning about the recently introduced Intel Modular Server as late. With the ability to house six server blades and fourteen Serial Attached SCSI drives it’s a datacenter in a 6U box (or horizontal pedestal if you prefer).

The management software is intuitive and easy to use, and provides remote, end-to-end management. It works through a web browser (IE and Firefox), yet feels like you’re standing right in front of the rack. The same interface is used for everything from storage, KVM, and power management.

The designers obviously had the middle-market in mind, because this offering sidesteps all of the issues have made implementing a blade solution in a SMB situation problematic. The system runs on either 110 or 240V AC, eliminating the need for a costly 220-240 UPS upgrade.“  At 70 dB maximum sound output, I wouldn’t want it under my desk, but it wouldn’t overwhelm an office.“  Running at a fairly cool 75 degrees, it won’t overwhelm the cooling ability of a small equipment room. The availability of the chassis as a pedestal base for situations where there is not a rack available is a first in the blade market, as far as I’m aware.

If the Modular Server had an A/C module, it would truly be a data center in a box, providing everything a small business needed except an Internet connection.“  I’m interested to see how it fares against HP’s c-Class blade system, or IBM’s BladeCenter S, which have similar capabilities.“  With it’s significantly lower cost than HP and IBM, it’s sure to hit the sweet spot for many SMB customers.

Confessions of an affiliate failure

Hello, my name is T.J. and I’m an affiliate program failure.

If you look at my latest earning reports, you can see that I’ve been making slow but steady progress at increasing my websites’ revenue through Google Adsense and eBook sales. I seem to be coming up short in affiliate programs, though. I’ve been running a variety of Commission Junction ads on a couple of our sites for just under a year now. In this time, there have been 222,059 impressions but only 276 clicks – for a CTR of 0.12% which is pathetic in itself. Even worse is that not one of those 276 clicks converted into a referral or sale so I’ve made a grand total of $0 for the entire year on CJ. I’m not sure if the advertisers I’ve been choosing aren’t a good fit for the websites they are on, or if I’m missing even more basic than that. I’m completely at a loss why my site visitors will click on AdSense ads for a topic on my sites, but completely ignore very similar affiliate ads in the same location.

Now you may be thinking – “there’s more affiliate programs than CJ, T.J.”…. Sure there are. Google has an affiliate advertising add-on to Adsense. Can you guess how much I’ve made off of them? If you guessed $0, you’re right! Last month I made I applied for several others: and they all told me the same thing: denied. Even WalMart!

I will admit that I’ve done a little better with WidgetBucks and Amazon averaging about $2.00 and $1.25 a month respectively. With WidgetBucks‘ $25 sign-up bonus, and a $50 minimum payout, I’m only 10 months away from my first payout, and two years after that until my 2nd payout. I think I’d be doing much better if I had a site that meshed better with one of the categories. I’ve got some sites in the works that may bring the monthly total up significantly. Amazon makes it a little easier to get payouts if you’re willing to take it in Amazon credit. The threshold there is a measly $10, meaning I’ll get paid in another 7 months.

Don’t get me wrong – I know there is money to be made in the affiliate business. John Chow made $6,579.67 from it last month, and it was his #2 moneymaker after private ad sales. I just think that the site needs to align better with an in demand big-ticket affiliate product. Web hosting, advertising networks, and expensive hardware and software all seem to lend themselves to the affiliate game than cute babies or gluten free recipes. I would imagine a site about AutoCAD or PhotoShop could make a pretty penny with an Amazon affiliate link to those high-priced products. John Chow obviously gets affiliate bonuses for people who sign up for advertising networks using his affiliate links. I’d love to have a site about Plasma TVs, but that market is a little saturated. I need a great product that is in demand, high-priced, under-represented online and has an affiliate program with high% payouts. I wonder if anyone has an affiliate program for dentures?