Archive for August, 2005

hula progress

August 31, 2005

The Hula groupware server should have some excitement around it pretty soon as an excellent Exchange alternative. It is a bare-bones, down to busines email/calendar/address server with a pretty web interface. The developers have taken a refreshing stance that their software will not be everything to everybody and hence will not suffer from the bloat of trying to be a file manager/project manager/crm/vegetable peeler.

Lately, they have been showing off the new calendar interface which looks pretty slick (although I think it could sacrifice some of the fade-in fade-out eye candy for speed and usability), Jabber capability, and are touting an email interface that will beat gmail at their own game.

NEC NVM 2000 voice mail server

August 29, 2005

We have an NEC NVM 2000 voice mail server produced by CTL that allows us to run a program called Desktop Messaging to check and manage our voice mail via PC. We are about half way through our 5 year warranty and now virtually all our new computers can’t connect to the server.

Turns out there is a hardware compatibility issue between the NIC in the VM server and most newer NIC’s. The OS on the box is proprietary and won’t work with any other NIC (too bad we didn’t use Asterisk). Anyhow, NEC says the product has reached the end of it’s life cycle and will not replace it or fix the problem. They say the problem is with the NIC’s in the new computers, which are all major names (Intel, Broadcom, etc.), and not their hardware.

We feel they are not honoring their warranty. Anybody else out there with this problem? Please comment. There is power in numbers!

kvpnc and pptp

August 28, 2005

KVpnc is a gui frontend to many VPN clients. Right now, I mainly use it for PPTP. It’s prettier and better integrated into the desktop environment than pptpconfig. I couldn’t find any good setup instructions out there so here it goes…

  1. Setup the PoPToP client. The pptpclient website has how-to’s for all the major distro’s including Fedora Core 4.
  2. Install vpnc. In Fedora land, yum install vpnc.
  3. Install kvpnc. It wasn’t in my yum repo list, but the rpm is available on their site. As of this writing, this will get you the current version rpm -Uvh http://download.gna.org/kvpnc/kvpnc-0.7.2-1.rhfc4.i386.rpm
  4. Start kvpnc. Kvnpc needs to be run as root to access pptp. Sudo-ing won’t suffice unless you have /sbin in your user path.
  5. Profile > New Profile.
    Profile Name: Friendly name for the connection.
    Connection Type: In our case PPTP.
    IPSec Gateway: This is misleading. Type in the IP address of the remote machine here.
    Username and Password: Fill ’em in.
  6. Now click on the Advanced button. Enable Advanced Settings and check Do not use BSD compression. In my experience, PPTP wouldn’t connect with it on.
  7. At this point, you should be able to connect successfully. If not, you may find checking enable debug in Settings > Configure KVpnc > daemons under PPPD helpful. To see the log, go to Profile > Toggle Debug Console

drupal editing and image uploading

August 25, 2005

I am using Drupal almost exclusively for building client CMS’s lately. Once you get the hang of it, I think it blows the competition out of the water. The last couple days, I have been playing around with getting a full WYSIWYG editor with image uploading set up that anybody can use. There are a number of modules available. I first tried the FCKEditor module, but didn’t have any luck getting the image uploading to work. It was a little slow and I later found out that the developer seems to have abandoned the project.

A little more searching turned up TinyMCE, img_assist, and Image. They work together seemlessly. So far I have been very impressed. These will all be default on my future installations.

wsus on an oem install of sbs2003

August 25, 2005

They finally came up with a fix to install Windows Server Update Services on OEM installs of Small Business Server 2003. I had 2 different OEM installs of SBS2003 SP1 that failed trying to setup MSDE. Here is a snippet of the error log I was getting:

...
2005-07-19 15:59:20 Error CustomActions.Dll SQL command is returning
error (Error 0x80004005: Unspecified error)
2005-07-19 15:59:20 Error CustomActions.Dll ExecuteSQLCommand
returning error (Error 0x80004005: Unspecified error)
2005-07-19 15:59:20 Error CustomActions.Dll Failed to execute SQL
script (Error 0x80004005: Unspecified error)
2005-07-19 15:59:20 Error CustomActions.Dll BuildAndExecuteSQLQuery
failed (Error 0x80004005: Unspecified error)
2005-07-19 15:59:20 Error CustomActions.Dll Failed to execute add
account SQL Script (Error 0x80004005: Unspecified error)
2005-07-19 15:59:20 Error CustomActions.Dll AddAccount returning error
(Error 0x80004005: Unspecified error)
2005-07-19 15:59:20 Error CustomActions.Dll Failed to add account
(Error 0x80004005: Unspecified error)
...


Steps to fix the problem are
: Read the rest of this entry »

i hate mcafee

August 17, 2005

Twice I have found the preinstalled version of McAfee “Security Center” (once from Dell, once from AOL) to hose network communications. What’s worse, it is only some things and disabling McAfee altogether does not fix the problem.

  1. User calls and can’t connect to MSN via broadband. Everything else works fine. Can ping the IP address, web browsing, email, etc. no problem. Just MSN. One of the first things I tried was disabling McAfee firewall and anti-virus. The problem persisted so I moved onto the next thing. Just before giving up, I uninstalled McAfee alltogether and (after the 3 reboots required) voila MSN worked again.
  2. User called because network printing wouldn’t work. I could ping the printer and access the web interface, but printing would fail. Same thing with McAfee disabled. After an uninstall and this time 4 reboots (are you kidding me!). It magically worked again.

Don’t even get me started on the whole register and login to our website to receive your free virus definition update thing.

dell CERC SATA 1.5/2s != linux compatible

August 10, 2005

I ordered a Dell PowerEdge 800 in “Red Hat Linux Configuration” with a SATA RAID controller. The drives came configured as JBOD(just a bunch of discs) (no RAID). I reconfigured the controller to run RAID-1, booted to my CentOS 4 disc, but no hard drives were found.

After a little searching, I came across this document. The onboard SATA RAID controller on the PowerEdge 800, SC1425 and 420SC systems only runs in Linux with RAID off. I contacted my sales rep and the best he could offer was a CERC SATA 1.5-6CH, Six Port (342-0056) for $229 + shipping. It would have been nice to know that the onboard RAID controller was not a real RAID controller before I ordered it.

I ended up dropping in a 3ware 8006-2LP card.

hard drive backup solution

August 7, 2005

I have a client that is creating data at a rate of 6GB/mo. The 36/72 GB DAT drive they had in their server didn’t last them long. I decided to replace the tape drive with hard drive backups. After some searching, I came across Granite Digital.

They have a number of affordable hot-swap drive solutions. I went with their single bay external SATA hot-swap case 4802. With a couple of extra trays, some Seagate SATA drives, and a SATA card from Granite Digital, we were ready to roll.

Installation was straightforward and the backups are humming along. All in all, I would recommend this to anyone looking for an alternative to tape. Cost is about the same, but the Seagate drives are warrantied for 5 years (I’m lucky to get 18 months out of my tapes). They also are easily upgradeable down the road if they run out of space. I installed it on a Windows 2003 server, but they say the SATA card (6030) is supported under any recent Linux kernel as well.