Thursday, 25 February 2010

Useful Websites #3

Desktop Nexus - Huge collection of wallpapers. The site also detects your resolution and changes the size for you to preview before you download.

10 minute mail - When you don't want to give out your email address use a temporary one. With a handy option to extend the time if you need to.

Martin Lewis' Money Saving Expert - Lots of offers and deals. Personally I regularly visit here to get free tickets to films, often before they come out.

Google Real Estate Search - Find property for sale or rent in a specific area. Narrow it down with by price, bedrooms and bathrooms and check Google Maps for the red dots. Click them and see a thumbnail of the property and price, click that to get more details from the site it is listed on. Useful for the satalite view to see what is around the property you are interested in.

Atari arcade games - Not exactly useful, unless you want to a fun timewaster. Play the old arcade games in your browser.

Down For Everyone Or Just Me? - Check if a website is down. Helpful at work to stop getting the blame when it is not your fault. We are always getting blamed for blocking websites.

Draw Anywhere - A free online replacement for Mircrosoft Visio.

Carryout Text - Convert just about any text file into an MP3 for listening to at work, in the car, on your MP3 player etc. Free while still in beta. Currenly English text only.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Hyper-V error

We are setting up Hyper-V on our 2008 servers for the first time. Hyper-V is Microsofts virtualizastion software for servers. When trying to setup a virtual machine we kept getting this error: ''Microsoft Synthetic Ethernet Port (Instance ID{7E0DA81A-A7B4-4DFD-869F-37002C36D816}): Failed to Power On with Error 'The specified network resource or device is no longer available.' (0x80070037)''. After some searching it turns out it is due to Antivirus software on the host machine scanning the configuration and hard disk directories of your VM. To get past this error configure your antivirus not to scan these following directories and files:

Default or custom virtual machine configuration directory (DEFAULT= C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Hyper-V)

Default or custom virtual hard disk drive directory (DEFAULT= C:\Users\Public\Documents\Hyper-V\Virtual Hard Disks)

Any snapshot directories



This should fix it.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Cut email costs in school

There is a Microsoft product you may not have heard of called Live@edu. I saw this on the Microsoft schools blog and thought it was a very good idea. If we were not going into BSF soon I would have put this forward to the school as a way to cut costs. It might also appeal to those who are currently without an exchange server or are soon needing to upgrade.

This service is completely free and doesn't have ads. What it does rely on though is an internet connetion as your data is hosted at Microsoft in Dublin. Your email and data (Skydrive and OfficeLive included for each user) is held on a Microsoft exchange server that can be accessed using most browsers. Users get 10GB of mailbox space each and 25GB space each on Skydrive. You can also use your existing email client to download your mail to your PC/phone. Best of all you can keep your existing domain and addresses for example

Microsoft says this service will be free forever. You can enroll or just register for a trial here.

You can brand the service with your school colours and logos and setup distribution lists. Also there is the capability to setup blocked lists and 'bad word' filters.

So why does it cut costs? Well there is the server license you don't have to buy and the server itself, so there is a few thousand pounds. Then there is the backup media and the exchange license or agent for backing it up and any suport contract that comes with it. Our support with Symantec is £114 per year just for the exchange agent. This doesn't including buying the software to begin with or the backup tapes and server. Then on top of that there is the electricity bills of somewhere between £500 and £1,500 for a server for a year and finally the technical staff wages for setting it up, maintaining it and fixing it whenever it goes wrong.

If you would like to know more check out these two pages here and here.

Also very interesting if you are not using Sharepoint in your school yet is that Sharepoint Online should become part of Live@edu sometime later this year. It was the decision of the school to pay an another school around £3,500 to host ours so it might be worth checking out.