12 May 2008

Mike Magee's New Haunt Tips Up

If you like to read about I.T. and related news items you owe it to yourself to follow "Mad" Mike Magee.

Mike's been a tech journalist nearly forever and started the first online only technology news magazine (The Register) in 1994. Following several successful years, he had a slight tiff with his partners and left to found another online magazine (The Inquirer).

Now he's sold that one and is starting a third, based in India. It's called The IT Examiner and you should definitely check it out!

14 March 2008

Deploying the MS Office 2007 Compatibility Pack

So I haven't really used this in a long time and thought I should really start trying to publish some of the solutions to I.T. related issues I've come up with.

So, you have a company full of computers running MS Office 2003 and you have no in place solution for rolling out software other than group policy (*sadness* which is less than useful in many cases). You want everyone to be able to deal with the new MS Office 2007 OOXML format. Hey look, they triggered it up so it won't be available on WSUS either. *lovely*

We could go to the bother of extracting and testing a group policy install, but you want to deploy it now and know right now if it was deployed or not, without everyone logging out, or any of the other wonderful issues GP brings along with it! Have no fear, Jason is here with your solution. All you need in addition to the update is the psexec utility and admin access to all the user machines.

Follow these steps:

  1. Extract the install and make available on a public share

    FileFormatConverters.exe /extract:\\server\share\Office2k7Compat\extracted

  2. Check the contents of the \extracted directory:

    <DIR> Catalog
    27,962,756 O12Conv.cab
    355,328 O12Conv.msi
    2,480 README.HTM

    3 File(s) 28,320,564 bytes

  3. Create this batch file "O2k7_Compat.bat" on your local machine

    @ECHO off

    SET InstPath=\\server\share\Office2k7Compat\extracted

    ECHO.Installing Office 2007 File Format Converter package...

    msiexec.exe /i %InstPath%\O12Conv.msi /qn /promptrestart /log c:\O2k7Compat.log


    Note: we will be running this file non-interactively, so the ECHO lines are mostly spurious. However, if you have issues with the network you can use the same file to install manually without having to click through a dumb install wizard.

  4. Obtain the psexec utility which is part of the pstools package from

    This Technet page

  5. Run psexec like this from the directory where you've saved your O2k7_Compat.bat file to install the compatibility pack on one machine. Obviously, psexec.exe must be in your %PATH%.

    psexec \\machineName -u yourDomain\administrator -i -c O2k7_Compat.bat

    Tip: investigate the "@computerlist.txt" option to psexec to have it iterate over all your client machines in one go.

  6. If you get a non-zero return from the install, then check out the log on the machine that failed. It'll be at \\machineName\c$\O2k7Compat.log

Problem solved!

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26 May 2005

It still astounds me...

That GWB is in office. Check out this quote from the daily
Marketplace newsletter:

Cities take on global warming:
President Bush has declined to sign the Kyoto Protocol, the treaty designed to cool global warming. The White House says Kyoto would put the U.S at a competitive disadvantage. But more than 150 American cities have decided to comply with Kyoto anyway. They say they're thinking globally, but they also admit it helps them economically, and, as Curt Nickisch reports, it gives them a competitive advantage.

*Listen -


It is just astounding to me that someone with so little understanding on so many different issues is running my country

28 April 2005

ASM *NOT* Considered Harmful

OK, last night I was going to get to bed at 2200 because I had to be at the office early for a surprise birthday breakfast for our CEO. Well, I took a shower and then was bad and sat down at the computer to see about finishing off Lab 6 for assembler class. By 2315 I had it almost done the way I wanted it. It links up nice and does what it's supposed to but I still want to take the averaging out to a subroutine. Then I'll call it done and have Lab 7 halfway done to boot :)

22 April 2005

A Better IM Client

I've been doing the IM thing on and off over several years now, first starting with an early beta of ICQ (yes, *WAY* before AOL bought Mirabilis out), then using AIM for a while when ICQ became bloated to all hell and ridden with spam. Lately, it's been Yahoo--er, sorry Y! ;)--messenger. I've tried the Trillian client a couple of times. It used to crash, so I gave up on it then. Now it seems stable, but on my laptop, which currently has just 256MB of RAM it is proving to be too much of a resource hog. Time to get rid of the pig! Enter Miranda IM. Out of the box the 0.4 release supports AIM, ICQ, IRC, Jabber, MSN, and the Yahoo network. More than enough for my needs. Did I mention that the download is less than a MEG? Right now it's running and using just 8MB. Not too shabby for a reasonably complex windows application in my book.

18 April 2005

Free Journals!

I just wanted to highlight the link to the Directory of Open Access Journals that I put in the right sidebar. What a great resource if you're doing research and the library is closed!

You should definitely check it out. Even if you're not doing research you should check it out because more people should read research materials.

Science baby.... Everything else is a wash.

The First Post

I figured it'd be a good idea to ring off on a positive note so I'll espouse on a good online customer service experience.

I ordered a roof rack last night from The Rack Warehouse. Just a few hours ago I got a plesent email that had the aura of actual human writing that explained that one of the parts was out of stock, when it would be in stock, and what would I like to do about it. I replied, stating that I wasn't really in a hurry, and to just make sure that I eventually would recieve all the parts. Suprise Suprise. I got a reply the next time my email client checked for mail that stated that they'd ship one big shipment with everything when the backordered part arrived.

People--yes, you who has an Internet business!--is it really this hard to provide this excelent level of customer service? Why is it, countless other times, I've had to fight, tooth and nail, to even get the correct product delivered? We'll find out soon enough if The Rack Warehouse comes through and everything is in order but they've already raised themselves above quite a number of businesses.