What’s this weeks internet buzz? Pownce

July 11, 2007

Over the last couple of months or so, the internet buzz could be summed up as…

twitter, jaiku, facebook, iphone, pownce

I’ve touched on Twitter before and even had a play around with itJaiku is nice because it pulls all our various Web 2.0 feeds together and reformats them into a timeline, see the right hand side. I am currently playing around with Facebook from both a personal and business point of view. Okay the iPhone is not a Web 2.0 technology, but I could hardly not mention it. Especially after the rave review my flatmate gave it. The company he works for designed the sound chip inside it and hence had his hands on one. Then the end of last week the new buzz has been Kevin Rose’s new venture, Pownce.

What is Pownce?

Its a way to send files to other people via the internet with a social networking spin to it. Someone describe it as twitter on steroids. 

Pownce is a way to send stuff to your friends. What kind of stuff? You can send just about anything: music, photos, messages, links, events, and more. You can do it all on our web site, or install our lightweight desktop software that lets you get out of the browser.


Pownce appeals to me because quite often I transfer large files between the two offices using Skype. Sometimes we have issues with Skype so another way of doing this is a bonus. Add the social networking element and Pownce could be a good tool for businesses with two or more offices.

Invitation Only

Although the Pownce is currently invitation only during it’s beta stage.  Luckily I was sent an invite code from Rieke-Benninghaus who left a comment on The Thinking blog, thank you.

I now have six invite codes, so if you would like invitation to Pownce, please leave me your email address in a comment below, maybe use something like emailme(a)terinea(dot)co(dot)uk to stop spammers.


Author: Support @ 10:20 am

Restoring Windows XP Backups on Windows Vista

July 5, 2007


Last week I installed a couple more Windows Vista machines after a series of catastrophic problems at one of our smaller clients. Then it came to restoring some files from the backups which where originally created using Window XP backup utility. Microsoft in their great wisdom has removed backwards compatibility with XP backups in Windows Vista.

So here is the work around…

  1. Start Menu >  Control Panel > Programs > Turn Windows Features On/Off  > Select “Removable Storage Management”


  2. Once you have completed the above task, download Windows NT Backup – Restore Utility from Microsoft and install
  3. Start Menu > Type in “NT” and select NTBackup-RestoreUtility


  4. You should then be present with your old faithful Windows Backup Utility, well the restore half that is. Unfortunately it doesn’t offer any backup capabilities which would be useful because the Vista backup seems to do a full system backup (entire c:\ drive) and nothing inbetween.



Backup Alternatives?

I’ve started looking a Cobian Backup, but are there any other alternative backup solutions for small businesses?


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Author: Support @ 4:23 pm

Debian Day 2007 – From Business Point of View

June 18, 2007


I decided to attend Debian Day with a point of view that I had heard that Open Source software could help my small business to reduce IT costs and bring competitive advantages. Here is a quick review of the talks from the event:-

Knowledge, Power and free Beer

Andreas Tille – Debian Developer


Andreas explained concepts of Open Source and how Debian Linux is different from other Linux vendors such Novell SuSE and RedHat. Andreas mentioned that there are over 18,000 different software packages for the Linux operating system. Which is fantastic for the end user in terms of choice, but at the same time is rather scary or confusing, this is where the Debian community is different. Within the community are focus groups that advise and recommend software packages you could choose to install on your Debian system. In Andreas case he ran focus group interested in medical software packages for the Debian system.


Don’t reinvent the wheel: Using Debian as a deployment infrasture

Andreas Ehn – CTO Spotify AB & Andreas Schldei – Spotify AB, Debian Developer


The Luxembourg and Stockholm based company Spotify decided not to reinvent the wheel (operating system), just modify it slight to match their business requirements. Something they simply could not have done with any other operating system without incurring large development costs. Spotify is a bit like Apple’s iTunes store, although instead of downloading any of the music it simply streams to either your PC or mobile phone. It reminded me of a very similar product to that of the online music jukebox Pandora. If your into music, it’s worth keeping and eye on this project.


Use of free software in education

Knut Yrvin, Trlltech Ltd


Knut talked about how teaching of IT in schools should not be just about using Microsoft Office. How teaching IT should be about using fun and creative tools, such as Stopmotion and Gcompris that actually engage children to be creative.


Not sure why, but Knut started talking about the Greenphone, which was very interesting never the less.



Hewlett Packard’s Relationship with Debian

Bdale Garbee – Linux CTO, Hewlett Packard


Bdale Garbee talked about the history of Debian and HP, and its increasing commitment to Open Source software. HP recently announced full driver support for its very popular server range, ProLiant. HP has also increased the range of support packages available for Linux too.


Free as in Market: The misunderstood entanglement of ethics, software and profits

Nick Mailer – Director, The Positive Internet Company


Nick talked about how his company clients are not only seeing the advantages of open source in terms of zero licensing costs, but when their businesses requirement changes. Had the customers gone a with a more traditional based software then these changes would have meant either waiting for the next release and hope that these additional features are included or simply starting again with a new product.

Nick also talked about ethics behind Open Source and methodologies that form our laws on copyright, which sparked a topical debate at the end of the talk.


Free Software in the commercial environment

Chris Halls – Credativ Ltd


Credativ provide Open Source solutions for the medium to large sized organisations in the UK and Germany. Chris spoke about the adoption of Linux in the UK is much less than that of Germany and Spain. How here feels Linux is more than ready for the enterprise and how most people use Linux everyday without even realising.



Free software and open systems in government

Patrick Harvie – Green Party MSP


Patrick Harvie is a member of the Green Party and has been an MSP for the Glasgow region since 2003. He is firm believer in Open Source and Free Software, and a Linux user.

Patrick believes by investing in free software, government commissions can provide maximum benefit to the public by developing software and tools which others are free to use. The school curriculum should cover the principles of Open Systems and free software to ensure that we are educating people to understand these concepts.

Previously he caused a bit of a stir when he asked how much The Scottish government had spent on licenses from Microsoft. He also highlighted a recent PR event Microsoft organised with the MSP’s which coincided with the release of Windows Vista.




If I had been a business person with an average IT skill set, then I would have probably been a little bit baffled at times and might not have come back after lunch. Maybe if the start of the day had been a series of talks aimed at business people and non-users of Open Source, the event could attract more people.

From technical point of view, although not an end user of the Linux operating system, I found the event informative and interesting insight to Debian. I especially enjoyed the talks from Nick Mailer and Patrick Harvie. Both of which did not actually have any slides or laptop, which just goes to show you do not always need slides.

The event was well organised by various volunteers who had travelled from all over the world to be at the Debian Conference 2007. At the end the day I show my appreciation by purchasing geeky Debian t-shirt.


I also had a quick chat with the guys from Edinburgh Linux to find out a little more about what they do. If you want to find out more about Debian, the conference is on for the rest of the week.







Author: Support @ 12:19 pm

10 Resources To Improve Your Wireless Network

June 7, 2007

Image from The IT Managers Journal – Check out Jason’s blog

If you live in a city with similar architecture that of Edinburgh, i.e. walls thick enough to stop cannon balls (and wireless signals), offices split between two floors. Then you may of had issues with your wireless network. What’s more old buildings where never designed with network cable in mind, so it’s more than likely your business will rely on wireless as the primary connection between your computers, servers and printers. 

Now I can’t write up a post on wireless networks without mentioning security. It still surprises me on the number of wireless networks that are open. I recently moved into a new flat where one of the neighbours named his open network after his business, left the default admin password for the wireless box and had his Windows XP firewall turned off! I called round secure it for him.

So from this post you should find tips on how to…

  • Increase the strength/range of your wireless network
  • How setup your wireless network
  • Add additional layers of security

Now you can throw money at the problem, wireless repeaters (repeats the signal), hi-gain antennas (bigger antennas), IT people and n-draft wireless routers (latest wireless technology) can solve most issues. Although, before you go down this route try out some of the tips below. I recommend trying out one tip at a time, test it with a program like Netstumbler (Mac macstumbler and Linux kismetwireless) which will give the strength of the signal (Signal to Noise Ratio) rather than guessing if it’s stronger!

1) Use a wired network

Easier said that done, but three reasons still use wired cable over wireless network. Security – You usually need physical access to your office, wireless you can stand outside the office and pick up the network. Speed –  Typically your wired network will always be faster, specially as Gigabyte equipment is more or less standard. Reliability – Your much less like to have networking issues in terms of strength, bandwidth and connectivity.

Three problems I’ve had with wireless networks…

1) Wireless network disappears causing the client to lose connectivity and then network reappears. ADSL router was randomly disconnecting from the local exchange and for some reason also affected the wireless network. I replace the filter and upgraded the firmware on the router.

2) Windows Domain and Wireless networks. We bought a batch of Toshiba laptops for client which would lose sight of the Domain Controller (Windows Server) during login and therefore default to local profile login. We fixed the problem with a tool from Intel called Intel® PROSet/Wireless, which made sure the laptop was connected to the wireless network before contacting the domain controller.

3) Another connectivity problem, this time Windows Vista client would connect for an hour or so and then drop off if there was no traffic between the network and PC. Upgraded the Windows driver for the network adapter, but eventually replace it with a new card. A temporary work around was to constantly ping the router, ping -t


2) 10 Tips for Extend the range and the strength of your wireless network 

Position your wireless router (or wireless access point) in a central location. When possible, place your wireless router in a central location in your home. If your wireless router is against an outside wall of your home, the signal will be weak on the other side of your home. Don’t worry if you can’t move your wireless router, because there are many other ways to improve your connection. Microsoft

3) Step-by-Step: Creating a Wireless Network

A business. You may need it all – speed for moving large documents around your network quickly, good range for providing access to users spread throughout several rooms or floors, and strong security to lock down your communications and prevent sensitive information from being compromised. Practically Networked

4) Five Steps to Better Security and Compatibility 

Do a Site Survey Potts likes to ask his customers this question, “Do you know where your wireless signal is?” Unless you know exactly how far your wireless network reaches, and in what directions it travels, chances are you’re leaking a Wi-Fi signal that anyone with a laptop and a Wi-Fi card – including hackers – can use for free. CWS Internet

5) 10 tips to increase wireless range 

Reduce wireless interference. Cordless phones, microwave ovens, and other wireless electronics in your home or office can interfere with your wireless network. To improve reception, look for cordless phones and other electronics that use the 5.8GHz or 900MHz frequencies. They won’t interfere. Daily Wireless

6) Securing Your Wireless Network 

Passwords on Your Router. You configure most routers using a Web browser. When connect to the router, you need to log in. Every router has a default password, like admin. As this article points out, most people don’t bother to change that password. Doing that is simple, though.Geeks.com

7) Optimize your wireless network

Cnet.com give a complete guide from choosing the right gear to securing the network, all via short video’s. Cnet

8 ) 5 Minute Wireless Network Security for your Home

  1. Change the default password
  2. Disable unnecessary remote administration options
  3. Change the default SSID
  4. Disable SSID broadcast. The SSID is the name of your wireless network.
  5. Disable unnecessary remote administration options

9) Set up a home wireless network

As ever Life Hack provide a wealth of useful resources on this subject matter.

10) How To Secure A Wireless LAN (WLAN)

The old encryption standard Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) can be hacked within 30 seconds, no matter the complexity of the passphrase you use to protect it. Unfortunately, millions of Wifi users are still using WEP encryption technology to encrypt their information, despite the availability of the vastly superior WPA2 encryption standard. Daily Wireless

Author: Support @ 1:03 pm

Open Source Auditing Software

June 4, 2007


In my pervious job I worked with a rather excellent tool called GFI Languard . Languard allowed the IT department to scan the entire computer network so machines could be audited, Windows updates applied remotely and search for security flaws in business critical machines.  You can also run the tool against other network devices such as firewalls, routers, WiFi boxes etc. 


Now keeping track of your IT hardware in asset register can be something of a real pain. Many businesses IT infrastructure grown arms and legs over night, adding a PC here and server there. This is where a tool like Langaurd can really help to get your asset register back up to date.

Open Source Alternative to GFI Languard


When a client recently asked us to look on the market for a networking auditing tool similar to Languard we came across OCS Inventory, that provides very similar features. At first I was concerned that the product might not quite be enterprise strength, but from reading the feedback on the site I’m sure its more than capable. The problem with Languard is the price (£375 for 32 devices or £1800 for 512 devices) and lack of inventory features, you can create reports but it can’t maintain an inventory of devices. I think in some cases you can get considerable discount for not profit organisations.

OCS Inventory does need some time spent on initial setup, where as Languard will run out of the box. I’ll report back if we get the go head to deploy this tool within their enterprise.

Testimonial from Newsforge on OCS Inventory

I manage about 200 computers running various flavors of Linux and Microsoft Windows in my company. We built a home-grown PHP-based inventory application to store our hardware and software inventory information. The software relied on our updating information manually, whenever there was any change, so as you might expect, the data was always outdated. We replaced our old system with Open Computer and Software Inventory Next Generation, released under the GNU GPL. OCSNG suited our needs immensely. We could see the benefits almost immediately, as it automated the collection and updating of the data, which is the most crucial part of inventory management.


Author: Support @ 4:37 pm

Copying Files Between Your Apple Mac and Windows Server Using Remote Desktop Connection

May 3, 2007

If your business has a Windows Terminal Server and you use Remote Desktop Connection Client on your Apple Mac to access Windows based programs such as Sage or other bespoke business applications. You can very easily transfer files between these two machines by simply by ticking “Disk Drives” found under Options > Local Resources.  This would also work for a Windows PC which isn’t connected to your busines domain and also should you need access to local printers simply by ticking “Printers” check box.


When you remote desktop into the server and browse to the My Computer you should see the following…

These are the local drives on your Apple Mac.

More information at…





Author: Support @ 11:35 am

Terminal Server Hack

March 28, 2007

Okay this is more a internal note for us. This Regedit allows none administrator users to login in via the Terminal Server.

Start > Run > “gpedit.msc” > Computer Configuration > Windows > Secuirty > Local > User Rights > “Allow log on throught Terminal Server”


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Author: Support @ 10:29 pm

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