Offering low cost PC and Mac repair in Ashland, Oregon.

Dec 28, 2010

Survey from Google Docs

I have created my first survey from Google Docs. Please take a look and help out with my research!

Jiggle the Cable Survey
(Results)

Dec 27, 2010

Sysadmin Tools

50 UNIX / Linux Sysadmin Tutorials: "Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all TGS Readers. To wrap this year, I’ve collected 50 UNIX / Linux sysadmin related tutorials that we’ve posted so far. This is lot of reading. Bookmark this article for your future reference and read it whenever you get free time. Disk to disk backup using dd command: dd [...]

Read More: 50 UNIX / Linux Sysadmin Tutorials

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Dec 23, 2010

Software Developer Advice for Sysadmins

Can't pass up great advice.  I've done my share of upgrades and have personally experienced each and every one of these situations. Here are the highlights but please take the link for the full story.

1. DO have a "silent install" option.
2. DON'T make the administrative interface a GUI.
3. DO create an API so that the system can be remotely administered.
4. DO have a configuration file that is an ASCII file, not a binary blob.
5. DO include a clearly defined method to restore all user data, a single user's data, and individual items.
6. DO instrument the system so that we can monitor more than just, "Is it up or down?"
7. DO tell us about security issues.
8. DO use the built-in system logging mechanism.
9. DON'T scribble all over the disk.
10. DO publish documentation electronically on your Web site.      

10 Dos and Don'ts To Make Sysadmins' Lives Easier: "CowboyRobot writes 'Tom Limoncelli has a piece in 'Queue' summarizing the Computer-Human Interaction for Management of Information Technology's list of how to make software that is easy to install, maintain, and upgrade. FTA: '#2. DON'T make the administrative interface a GUI. System administrators need a command-line tool for constructing repeatable processes. Procedures are best documented by providing commands that we can copy and paste from the procedure document to the command line."

Dec 20, 2010

Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0 Released

Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0 Released: "Greg writes with this excerpt from Ars Techica: 'Following a four-month beta program, Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) 2.0 has been released. The new version significantly revamps the heuristic scanning engine, adds Windows Firewall integration as well as network traffic inspection. The update unquestionably makes MSE, which has already become very popular due to its quiet but effective ways, even more of a must-have for Windows users. MSE has always been very good at finding and removing malware, but it has relied mainly on antimalware definitions. The improved heuristic engine makes it even better at detecting threats; at the same time, we expect the number of false positives to slightly increase as well. The new Windows Firewall integration is a minor improvement: it lets you tweak Microsoft's firewall from inside MSE.'"

Dec 19, 2010

OS X Boot Key Combinations

I'm not sure where I got this but here it is for my reference.

Boot key combinations:
Everybody knows about some of these boot key combinations, but some of the more obscure combinations have been long forgotten (like how many of us have a Quadra AV and use a TV as a monitor!) – Check these out, you may need one of them someday!
  • C : Forces most Macs to boot from the CD-Rom drive instead of the internal hard drive. Only works with Apple ROM drives and with bootable CD discs.
  • D : Forces the first internal hard drive to be the startup disk.
  • N : Netboot (New World ROM machines only) – Looks for BOOTP or TFTP Server on the network to boot from.
  • R : Forces PowerBooks to reset their screen to default size (helpful if you’ve been hooked up to an external montior or projector!)
  • T : Target Disk Mode (FireWire) – Puts machines with built-in FireWire into target Disk mode so a system attached with a FireWire cable will have that device show up as a hard drive on their system. Very useful for PowerBooks!
  • Mouse Button Held Down : Ejects any mounted removable media.
  • Shift : Disables all extensions (Mac OS 7-9), or disables Login items when using Mac OS X 10.1.3 or later. Also works when booting Classic mode up just like you were using the OS natively.
  • Option : When using an Open Firmware "New World ROM" capable system, the System Picker will appear and query all mounted devices for bootable systems, returning a list of drives & what OS they have on them. On "Old World" systems the machine will simply boot into it’s default OS without any Finder windows open.
  • Space bar : Brings up Apple’s Extension Manager (or Casady & Greene’s Conflict Catcher, if installed) up at startup to allow you to modify your extension set.

  • Command-V : Boots Mac OS X into "Verbose Mode", reporting every console message generated during startup. Really shows what’s going on behind the scenes with your machine on startup!

  • Command-S : Boots Mac OS X into "Single User Mode" – helpful to fix problems with Mac OS X, if necessary.

  • Command-Option : Rebuilds the Desktop (Mac OS 7-9).

  • Command-Option-P-R : Erases PRAM if held down immediately after startup tone. Your machine will chime when it’s erased the PRAM, most people will hold this combination for a total of 3 chimes to really flush the PRAM out.

  • Command-Option-N-V : Erases NVRAM (Non-Volatile RAM). Used with later Power Macintosh systems mostly.

  • Command-Option-O-F : Boots the machine into Open Firmware (New World ROM systems only).

  • Command-Option-Shift-Delete : Forces your Mac to startup from its internal CD-ROM drive or an external hard drive. Very helpful if you have a 3rd party CD-ROM drive that is not an Apple ROM device.

  • Command-Option-Shift-Delete-#(where #= a SCSI DEVICE ID) : Boot from a specific SCSI device, if you have your 3rd party CD-ROM drive set to SCSI ID 3, you would press "3" as the # in the combination.

And, the obscure ones :>) Older computers only, on some.
  • Command-Option-I : Forces the Mac to read the disc as an ISO-9000 formatted disk
  • Command : Boots with Virtual Memory turned off.
  • Command-Option-T-V : Forces Quadra AV machines to use TV as a monitor.
  • Command-Option-X-O : Forces the Mac Classic to boot from ROM.
  • Command-Option-A-V : Forces an AV monitor to be recognized correctly.

Dec 13, 2010

Change Request Overtime Pay

Do you get paid for overtime, or compensated for non-standard work hours, when performing change requests during off-peak usage times?

I have been doing change requests and system patches and upgrades since Windows 3.1 and Netware 3.0 were common operating systems. While most previous employers have compensated me for this time, some of them just considered it part of the "other duties as assigned" clause and I went about my business working at 3am.