Saturday, February 28, 2009

It Fixed it for Me - Active Sync and Missing Contacts

This one got the better of me for an hour or so before I figured it out. I was trying to sync my cell phone with my desk pc to get my calendar and contact items.

I had previously synced my phone with an Exchange server but I removed that sync relationship. I then tried to sync my phone up to my pc by creating the sync relationship using Microsoft's Active Sync software (running on XP by the way). It would sync everything I needed except for the contact list. I had over 300 outlook contacts so I really did not want to add them in by hand. I have seen many suggestions pointing to the need to hard reset my phone. I really did not want to do that as I has spent alot of time configuring it the way I wanted.

I then tried to open up the Active Sync soft and went to the options of what to sync. I removed the check box to sync up the contacts. It then gave me a notification that all contacts on my phone would be erased. As I did not have any contacts left on the phone it really didnt matter. I then sync'd the phone with the contact opton not selected. Then I went back to the sync options and added the contact list back in. After the next sync I received all 300 contacts on my phone.

It seems that there may be a bug in the software that prevents the contact list from syncing to a different device if the phone was previously connection to a Microsoft Exchange server.

There may be other ways to fix this problem but "Itfixed it for me"

Scott

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

ItFixed it for me - Cat 6 Cables Increased Network Throughput

This one seems that it wouldn't help but I have to post a quick note about Cat6 Cables verses Cat 5/5e cables.

I have been fighting with a server that has a Gb network card attached to a Gb switch barely reaching 100Mb/sec network speeds. As it turned out the cables that were connecting the server to the switch were older Cat5e network cables. Although the Cat 5e cables are rated for Gb speeds, apparently because the cables were so old or possibly had minor unseen damage they were not sustaining the higher speeds.

After the switch to new CAT6 cable the network speed came back to what it was supposed to be.

I realize that this fix will not work for everyone as there are many causes of slow network speeds but ItFixed it for me. It may be worth looking as the simpler fixes before pulling out any hair.

Friday, February 20, 2009

HDTune - Product Review

Here is another useful utility I have been using. It is called HDTune (I have been using the free version 2.55). HDTune is available from www.hdtune.com. There are two versions avail, a free version and a HDTune Pro version 3.50 with costs $34.95 currently. The free version is a bit limited but it will give you some good benchmarks for your hard disks.


The interface is very simple and consists of a few tabs. To test your hard drive you simple select it from the list and press the start button. It will take a few minutes and return with some statistics on drive speeds.

HDTune also has the ability to run an error scan on the disk as well as give detailed disk information.


I found one small issue so far. I have one system with an external sata disk array with 4 x 500GB sata disks. Two of the sata disks are currently configured as a stripe set. HDTune was able to test the single sata disks but could not test the Windows drive letter that was using the two striped sata disks.

I have used this util to compare several disks throughput. Please post any comments if you also use this good util.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

ItFixed it for me - Nic Bonding on Linux to Double Network Throughput

This article will hopefully help someone using a Linux server with dual network cards.
I have an HP DL380 server that on a nightly basis copies large amounts of data across my network to a backup server. The copy was averaging over 8 hours to complete.

To increase my network throughput I was able to install and configure a second network card and then team (bond) them together to essentially get double the throughput.

For those that want to give this a try I will post the steps below. As always I do not guarantee that this will work for you but ITFixed it for me.

Before you begin take a backup copy of the following files in case you have to set them back to a working state.

/etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0
/etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth1
/etc/modules.conf

I have this working on two Redhat Enterprise linux servers (one RHEL3 and the other RHEL4). But I would imagine that this should work on many other Linux distributions as well.

Create a new file
/etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-bond0 and add the following to it, using your own ip addresses
DEVICE=bond0
IPADDR=x.x.x.x
NETWORK=y.y.y.y
NETMASK=z.z.z.z
USERCTL=no
BOOTPROTO=none
ONBOOT=yes
Modify your /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0 file and change it to
DEVICE=eth0
USERCTL=no
ONBOOT=yes
MASTER=bond0
SLAVE=yes
BOOTPROTO=none
Also modify your /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth1 file and change it to
DEVICE=eth1
USERCTL=no
ONBOOT=yes
MASTER=bond0
SLAVE=yes
BOOTPROTO=none
Save all of these files.
Add the following lines to the end of /etc/modules.conf
alias bond0 bonding
options bond0 mode=balance-alb miimon=100

Make sure the bonding module is loaded with
modprobe bonding
Then restart the network service

service network resart
You should now see the bond0 nic listed if you run and ifconfig from the command line.

Make sure you backup the files before you make any changes and I also recommend to to this while you have direct access to the server as it will disconnect your network connection temporarily if you are connecting to the server remotely (over ssh or vnc etc...) If you have direct access to the server you can set your files back to the originals if something goes wrong.

Good Luck.






Thursday, February 12, 2009

SD Memory Card Not Working???

I had a client ask me recently why their SD memory card for their digital camera was not recognized when they inserted it in the card read slot on their pc.

Some people are not aware that in older PCs the memory card readers will only read SD cards not SDHC (High Capacity cards). Most 4GB and over are SDHC cards. In order to read the data on those type of cards you will need a SDHC Reader.




One good SDHC reader that I have used is a MobileMate SD+. It has will read SDHC , miniSDHC and microSDHC cards. I picked mine up for about $14. Definiatly worth it to read those larger SD cards from your camera or phone.

Hope this helps.

Monday, February 9, 2009

How to mount a NFS Share on Linux

This one may be a bit simple but it may help someone remember the syntax.
This command will mount an NFS share in linux to an exisiting empty folder called /mountpoint.

mount  servername:/nfs-exported-sharename /mountpoint

The servername is the server's name. Note this can be the UNC name (server.domain.com). The nfs-exported-sharename is the NFS share that has been exported on the NFS server. The /mountpoint is the location on the system where you would like to mount this connected share. This directory must exist and be empty before you run the command.

This command is similar to "mapping" a drive in Windows. Once connected you can access the files on the nfs server just the same as you would a file on the local filesystem.  You simply browse or change dirs to /mountpoint/folder/subfolder/filename  etc...

This is an over simplified command as there are many NFS options but this should work by itself. I have used this many times on Centos and Redhat Linux but it should work for most linux versions that have an nfs client installed.

There is also a nice util called automount (linux service autofs) that can be set up to automatically mount and unmount the nfs shares as needed. If anyone would like to see a description of that let me know and I will create a post on how I have it set up and working.



Friday, February 6, 2009

Free Software - Product Reviews

I have done quite a few free software product reviews over the last few months so I decided to put a list together of some of the more popular reviews. Here they are in no particular order.

  1. Core FTP Lite - Product Review -FTP Client software
  2. Klok - Time Tracking App - Product Review- Time Tracking App
  3. Defraggler - Product Review- Disk Defragmenter
  4. Recuva - Product Review-File Recovery Utility
  5. Super Anti Spyware - Product Review- Anti Spam and Anti Spyware App
  6. TCP View - Product Review- Network Connction Utility
  7. Open Office - Product Review- Office Applications
  8. AVG Antivirus - Product Review- Antivirus Software
  9. Adaware - Product Review- Anti Spam and Anti Spyware App
  10. Zone Alarm - Product Review- Firewall Software
  11. Filezilla - Product Review - FTP client software
  12. CCleaner - Product Review- System clean up uitility
  13. SpyBot Search and Destroy -Anti Spam and Anti Spyware App
  14. iZarc - Product Review-File compression (zipping) app

You can also try clicking on Product Reviews to see if there are any new one that I have added.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Core FTP Lite - Product Review

Here is another free program that I came accross recently. Core FTP Lite (I tested version 2.1)
From their website www.coreftp.com

Free Windows software that includes the client FTP features you need. Features like SFTP (SSH), SSL, TLS, IDN, browser integration, site to site transfers, FTP transfer resume, drag and drop support, file viewing & editing, firewall support, custom commands, FTP URL parsing, command line transfers, filters, and much, much more!

I found this one on Filehippo.com. The download was about 3.3MB. It installed very quickly with out the need for a reboot (at least on Vista). I am using this software to connect securely to some of my Linux servers over SSH. The drag and drop functionality is very helpful to quickly copy a file to or from your desktop for quick editing.

It has a very familiar two window interface to drag and drop files from one location to another. It also has a simple way to add and edit sites that you need to connect to.

I haven't tested every feature of the program yet but the only real issue I did encounter was that the help file would not display, however the online version of help is available. This may be an issue with Windows Vista and not Core FTP lite. One other small item I found was that if you hover your mouse pointer over the icons in the programs tool bar there are no tool tips. This makes it a bit more difficult to use the program efficiently until you memorize what the icons mean. There may be way to turn on the tool tips but I could not find it.

If you find any other issues please post a comment and let me know.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

How to get open file information on Linux

Here is a small command line util that I have used many times. It will show a list of open files on a linux system. I have used this command to check for things like open ftp connections, large file copies and even database files open.

To get a list of open files on the system

Log in as root then type the following at a command prompt
lsof
To get a count of the number of open files
lsof | wc -l
To search for a particular file you can add grep to the command
lsof | grep filetoseachfor.txt

Monday, February 2, 2009

ItFixed it for me - Picasa Thumbnails not matching images.

Here is another useful tip. If you are running Picasa and you find that the thumbnails icons are not matching the images most likely your database is corrupted. The most common way to repair this is to uninstall Picasa completely and then reinstall the software.

I have come across a manual method of repairing (rebuilding) the Picasa database.
The database file is the "Picasa2" folder located at one of the following locations.

For Vista: C:\Users\[useraccounthere]\Applciation Data\Local\Google

For XP: C:\Documents and Settings\[useraccounthere]\Local Settings\application data\google





Note you may have to show hidden files/folders in Windows Explorer to see the above folders.

To rebuild the data base you have to
  1. Shutdown Picasa.
  2. Then browse to the above location. I recommend renaming the "Picasa2Albums" and the "Picasa2" folder to something like "Picasa2Albums.saved" and "Picasa2.saved" in case you need to put the older database back.
  3. After that you can start Picasa and it will recreate the database files. I ran this on a pc with over 10,000 pics and it took under 1 hour to rebuild the database.

The above process should not affect any edits you made to your pictures or the pics themselves but as always its a good idea to take a backup of everything important to you just in case.

For backup tips see 7 Ways to Backup your data.

There are other ways to achieve this but ItFixed it for me.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

How to find files over X days old on Linux

This has come up a few times and I thought I would share it.

If you need to find files in a directory over 60 days old

/usr/bin/find /directory/to/look/in -atime +60


This has come in hand to periodically delete log files. To take it one step further try this one.

/usr/bin/find /directory/to/look/in -atime +60 -exec ls -al {} \;


This will look in the directory specified for files over 60 days old and then do a ls -al on those files. You can adjust the command as needed to archive, copy, or even delete the files.

It can be added to a cron job to run.

To see some of my other helpful command line posts click here.