Friday 12 August 2011

Windows Server 2008 File Share Clustering and OSX 10.4

At work we had to bring a Apple Mac back into service. Since decommissioning the Mac we have moved to a clustered file server on Windows 2008 R2.

We tried to get onto some shares on the Windows 2008 R2 clustered file server and got an error saying directory or file does not exist. Looking on the web we found that there were a number of people with the same problem. It seemed to be an issue with clustered file servers because we successfully connected to shares on non clustered file servers.

Our Apple Mac is on OSX 10.4 but the problem seemed to be more previlant on 10.5 AND 10.6.

We found a few posts that said that you could get around the problem by typing the port number in the 'Connect to server' option.

For example 'smb://[servername]:139/[share]' however this didn't solve our problem.

We finally found a work around by using a hidden ($) share in the path to the shared folder.

For example 'smb://[servername]/X$/path/to/share'

Hopefully this will help someone as it was an odd issue that took a bit of solving

Friday 13 May 2011

Generate list of non repeating numbers in Excel

At work we had to create a list of new telephone numbers for employees.

We had a list of employees and had to assign a list of telephone extensions to the names. This had to be random and each number could only be used once.

The we did this was to copy the list of names into Excel. Then we used the RAND function to assign a random number between 0 and 1 to each name. After this we sorted the list by the newly created random number column. This gave us a random list of users. Finally we copied in the sorted list of telephone extensions into a column next to the employee name column. This gave a random list of telephone extensions to employee names without any any repetition.

Below is an example of what we did:

With a column for your list of names and a column for the random number you can randomise your list of names by simply ordering the list by the random number column. When you are happy with the random list of names then all you have to do is enter your sequential list of numbers into another column.


Tuesday 12 April 2011

Remember stuff by doing something memorable

Mr. Forgetful by Lily White
Mr. Forgetful, a photo by Lily White on Flickr.

I am constantly trying to remember if I actually did things.

For example did I lock the car door before coming into the house? Did I set the alarm when I left the house? Did I shut the kitchen window before going to sleep?

During an average day we do so many things in 'Auto Pilot' mode that we can not remember if we actually did them. A number of times I have had to turn the car around and go back home to make sure that I have indeed locked the door. Most of the time the door has been locked but the thing is that I cannot remember doing it. It is frustrating and it can be a big waste of time.

I thought about why I cannot remember all the important little things and realised that it is because these little things are repeated so often that the brain gets bored of remembering them.

My solution to the problem is to make forgettable tasks more memorable.

Some of the ways I have made repetitive task more memorable are:

1. Sing a little jingle after doing the task or action. For example sing 'I have locked the door' in the tune of a song you like.

2. Do a little dance after doing the task or action.

3. Just say the task out load after doing it.

All three of these options are used to make the task more memorable so that your brain thinks it is worthy of being remembered.

This has helped me (when I remember to make the task memorable ;-). So I hope it helps someone else

Wednesday 9 March 2011

Automate share creation

We have had an issue where one of our file servers forgets its share drives every time it reboots. To fix the issue we have to recreate all its share drives manually. We don't know why it happens but it is a real pain especially as it is our main file server.

In order to ease the admin issues of creating all the shares after we restart the server we have created a script to automate the task.

The script consists of multiple net share commands.

For example

net share myshare=c:\testfolder

Please note: the share is created will full share permissions given to the group 'everyone'.

Tuesday 1 March 2011

[Fix] Outlook only showing default printer

At work we have had this issue a few time so I though it would be usefully to record the fix.

The problem occurs when a user tries to print a message from the preview pane in Outlook.

Only the default printer shows in the printer drop down list and it is disabled so the user cannot change printers.

To get around this issue the user simply has to double click on the message to open it in a new window.

Now when the user goes to file -> print it will still show the default printer in the drop down list but it will be enabled so that another printer can be selected.

Hope this helps someone.

Wednesday 16 February 2011

Emails delayed by one day in Outlook

We had an interesting problem at work that I think would be useful to document.

A user sent in a helpdesk ticket about receiving emails a day later than everybody else. No one else had reported this issue so we decided to ask our email server provider about the issue. They said there were no issues on their side and all mail was going through as normal.

We sent a few test messages to the user and asked if she received them in time. She replyed the next day and said they were still coming through a day later.

Finally my collegue logged onto the users session and found the following senarioCan you see the deliberate mistake..?


Ok I'll tell you.

Somehow the user had managed to minimise the 'today' group for emails so emails would only show up when they show up in the yesterday group i.e. if they were sent yesterday.

Fair to say the user was quite embarrased when we pointed out what had happened!