Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dell Server 1800 + Linux + Rebuilding drive + reboot = Failed Array?

So I came in to swap some backups up on Monday, even though I was supposed to be out on vacation. I heard a load alarm coming from the server room. after searching around for a while I found it was our Dell PowerEdge 1800 that had been sent to us a couple of years ago, with a vender app loaded on it before my time. Well after restarting it stopped. YAY Good. Well not quite. After rebooting the server then after getting to the point where it discovers the raid array. It alarmed again stating that the Array had a missing member or was rebuilding.

So I hit Ctrl+A to hop into the utility. After looking around I could see that one of the drives was not showing up. Which added up since while it was loading I could hear some Putting and Clicking sounds drives shouldn't make. Well I contact that vender and they sent out a replacement drive. After putting that in and getting back into the Utility I had it search for new Drives and it started the rebuild. Well since this was a critical server to have up, I went ahead and exited the application so that it could boot into the OS.

Now I knew that it wouldn't perform as fast but at least it would be up, and in the background would be rebuilding. Well as Linux started to boot up it said that the Journal as dirty (or something to that nature). Pretty much it sounded to me, a windows guy, as a check disk. So I stuck around to keep an eye on it. At 67.5% it locked gave me some errors about EXT3-FS yada yada(sorry didn’t have something to write the errors down on when they came up) and then rebooted. I knew that wasn't good.

Well after coming back up it told me that the Array had no failed. :( Nooooooo. It always happens on vacations or weekends. Well after trying various things with the Vender support they had me force online the raid. We reboot and the Linux boot loader comes up. YAY. Well then some more errors and a error along the line of "kernel failed to init." Not good. Well so now I wait for the install media for that vender application, so it can be re-setup and then at which point then we will restore as much data as possible.

Morale of the story, you may just want to stay in the utility and let it rebuild even though it may take awhile.

I use for the most part Microsoft products but dabble in opensource software when the need arrises. i.e. Setup a Clonzilla server for a large school district for imaging.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dell 2135cn Communication Error 033-762

We purchased a Dell 2135cn for one of our departments and after setting up the unit was getting great feedback. Well after about a week I get a call stating they are not getting any incoming faxes. The previous fax machine worked fine. After talking with the people I realized it had never received any faxes. Hmmmm.

After speaking to Dell they had me check one or two things but after those checked out they sent us out a new one. They were very quick about this and the new unit even included new Toner. Got it set it up using the same seetings as the existing unit it's receiving faxes like a charm. I would love to know what on the other unit was the problem but will be fine with the new one just working. The Department that uses it loves it.

Overall it is a great MFP. My only complaint is that it does not have a Duplex Option.

Update - 7/21/2010 - If you have the "Junk fax" Option I would try disabling this. It may fix your problem.

Monday, October 12, 2009

IE8 Strikes again

Summary: My wife tells me that the internet seems slow on our Desktop at home. She says it seems to get worse using 2 tabs. After using it seems that is the case. It acts as if wireless is at the edge of a connection even though I was connected fine. It was happening in both IE and Firefox.

Troubleshooting: Anyways I check the wireless, fine. I test a constant ping to Google using "ping -t" No problem. I reboot all wireless routers involved just for kicks. (We have a Wireless Bridge that connects us to my parent’s network down the road.) No go. I also grabbed my trusty Laptop and suffer no problems. I look to see if any updates may have been causing the problem. Nothing had been installed recently to cause it. Also ran a full scan just for kicks by my antivirus, nothing. At this point I think I might have an idea of the culprit.

Solution: So I uninstalled Internet Explorer 8. Restart and POW, it works awesomely.

Conclusion: So far this is the 2nd time this has happened with IE8. Both times on a Vista Machine. I haven't had an issue with IE8 on all the computers here at work, which is plenty, but 98% of them are XP. I am wondering if how IE8 ties into Vista(maybe win 7 too) is causing this issue. I don't pretend to know the under workings of IE8. The thing I dislike is that it affects Any browser on the machine, not just IE8. So IE8's hooks are deep or something it modifies when installed is in front of all browsing. I must say though I have often just used IE8 but for personal use, Firefox is my highest recommendation at this point and checking the don't install IE8 update. IE7 doesn't seem to have this problem.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Pen is mightier than the Board

So I had the opportunity to go to a presentation yesterday regarding a collaboration/presentation technology. The AVerPen from AVerMedia. Currently it is still not available, yet they are shooting for a December release date. You can check out their Site HERE.

Right now in schools and many presentation rooms they utilize White Boards with technology that recognizes some sort of pen. Prometheam and Interwrite are some of the big names. They have their own pros and cons. Personally I have always disliked how people must cover up what they are trying to show. Some manufactors do provide some kind of slate or tablet. The ones I have used, are so so. Although I have never used one very long.

The Basic concept of the averpen is an optical mouse in the shape of a pen, or I should say marker. It doesn't feel too much different than a dry erase marker, yet it has buttons. As you can see from the picture above. It is very accurate with the laser being on the tip. As with an optical mouse you can use most anysurface. Now for you to start writing you must press the tip to whatever surface you are using it on. It causes a little disconnect because it goes in some, unlike a pencil whos tip does not move. I was told and can understand that it just takes some time to get use to.

The really neat thing is it is setup to be used with a teacher/presenter pen and then student/participant pens. So that teacher can be teaching utilizing the pen and then enable feedback and have the students write on board say the answer or try and solve the problem up to 6 at a time, without ever leaving their desk.

They have also included a voting feature, so that a question can be presented and the students can vote/answer the question. Both multiple/single answers. That is what the line of buttons is for on the top half of the pen. She said that up to 60 pens could be used from one dock. So this could allow for some serious answering.

The units come in a started pack of 1 teacher and 4 student, which MSRPs at 799.99. You can get additional Student pens in packs of 4 for 499.99. Battery wise we didn't get too much info. They may or may not be user replaceable. They use a Rechargable battery which is charged through the doc.No Battery meter, which could have been done like some of the laptop batteries. Press a button on the pen and the 5 voting buttons could light up depending on the amount of charge. It was a supposed charge being able to handle 12 hours. I would need to hear more.

Also if the program is open, and/or minized you can use the pen to control windows. Overall I was impressed  and looking forward to getting a par of these. No need to orient and  for one of our rooms where a rolling board would have been the only option, a big need. I'll post more as I have the opportunity to use them again. Probably sometime next May.

Monday, October 5, 2009

.5 Credit's = Windows 7 for $30.00

So Microsoft has a deal for students that are enrolled in at least .5 Credit's of College. It's great they are making this affordable for students to purchase and now days most people are at some point in college.

Go to Click on the Buy link which is the first picture in the second row. It will take you to a page filled with more details regarding purchasing Windows 7. This deal ends January 3, 2010 at 12:00 am CST. So you have a little bit of time to scrape together the money to purchase it.

Now this is for Windows 7 Home Premium or Windows 7 Professional. You can only purchase one copy per student. You can Also get the 32bit version or 64bit version. I recommend going 64bit.

You will need an .edu email address or you can upload a digitial scan of one of the following items:
  • Student ID card
  • Class list
  • Proof of course payment.
Also make sure you are currently enrolled in at least .5 credit's woth of classes. They can ask for proof. Anyways run and take advantage of this awesome price. Shoot me an email or comment and I will answer any questions you have. I have been running Win 7 since last August. Worth the money to me.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Unmountable Boot Volume

So I had one of my users drop off a laptop saying the laptop turned off and then after that wouldn't come back up. I turn the laptop on and yep that is the problem. It gives me the infamous Bluescreen, with the words "Unmountable Boot Volume" This is the 2nd one of the week.

Well if you get that then usually the first thing you want to do is find a Windows Installation Disk(Always order this with your computer if you have the option). Put it in the computer and boot to it. After doing this I selected the option to go the recovery console. Sadly it told me that it could not detect a drive and to run the diagnostics. So I booted into the Bios and ran Lenovo's HD Diagnostic tool. It said it was good so I ran the Windows XP disc again and this time ti worked. WIERD. Partially it actually sits for awhile before I get something useful. Must have really corrupted the Windows install. It gives me the option of which install to work on I select it by typing the number and hitting enter again. Still kind of sits for awhile after which the HD Light starts flickering away.

Sadly after running "chkdsk /r" I get the error "The volume appears to contain one or more unrecoverable problems." At this point just backup your info if you can.

UPDATE I downloaded Lenovo's PC Doctor Hard Drive Tool and this one did state a problem. Will be returning it since we are still under warranty.


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Beginning - Can Ping, but can't Browse

So this is a project I have played with in my mind for awhile now. I run across a lot of useful information I would love to share with others that are in Information Technology field themselves, Home Power Users(The people that the family uses for free), or the normal users. Now not to say all the info here will be tech related, but most of it will. I do have a life so some of it may sneak out here but we will see.

Anyways for my first post: I had a friend that was unable to browse the internet, but was using an Alltel data card. So I gave them their number, yes I had it on my phone because I deal with them very often, I recommended that he call them and if he still had a problem to give me a holler. After sometime I got a call back from him letting me know he still had the issue, so I told him to bring it in.

After getting it, I verified the problem. The Alltel card would connect but no internet grabbed a network cable and plugged it in just to ensure the problem wasn't limited to that interface. Same problem. I then jump into the Command Prompt (cmd) and ping good ole' and get a steady response. Hmmm, So I grab my USB stick and load Firefox onto the computer. YAY, wait never mind. I couldn't get to the internet there. But I was still able to ping quite nicely. Also some other services seemed to work. So I decided that something was screwing up browsing.

At the same time his antivirus wasn't working, usually I would blame a virus for that but it was Norton 360, and sadly I have had many issues with that software in its different versions. So I load up Microsoft's Security Essentials and it's able to pull up its definitions and after a quick scan nothing scary. So most likely Norton not working is just coincidental not a problem linked to this issue at hand.

After searching around Google with various terms. Some people mentioned different Suggestions. Resetting Winsock, System Restore, running some other tests, and uninstalling recent updates. So after doing all the ones up to the updates. I did notice he had gotten 5 updates the day before he called me. One of them being Internet Explorer 8, which I ignored at first since it was on many of our work computers and hadn't caused a problem. I removed a security update and another Vista update. Rebooted, still no go. So uninstalled IE8, rebooted.......

It worked. So during the update process for it, it must have borked up Vista. Anyways, I hope that helps some others that run into this problem. Now off to bed.