Saturday, December 29, 2007

New christmas mobo issue

Merry Christmas everyone,


There is nothing like treating yourself to a new motherboard for Christmas…. Remember it’s always worth checking the legacy hardware you have to make sure its compatible, even when the manufacturer says yes it is… things can still go wrong. As Steve found out;


Message: After I upgraded my mo/bo to asus extreme striker all the h/w seems to be good, but I can't repair windows xp or even get a new installation of it to talk to the modem. Given that this has put me offline maybe calling me would be a good idea...


-          I recommended changing the RAM out one by one, as I have had dodgy RAM do all sorts of weird and wonderful things…


Thanks for your reply - I stayed up all night last night and fixed it... It was bad hardware but it was the sound card from my old system that was the problem. When repairing windows xp it would try to find drivers for it but then hang so I couldn't tell it to skip it. I ripped the old card out and put the new one from asus in. The old mobo was foxconn with a creative soundblaster sound card. the new mobo is asus extreme striker and a new q6600 processor. Then windows repaired itself - I got all my old stuff back and was able to go on the net as before. Your ram point is also good - an early prob was a bad mixture of ram so I pulled all but the newest stick. It ran like shit but at least it ran. 2Gig of OCZ fixed that. I learned a helluva lot last night... Steve.



Old hardware can always be a pain, if you are upgrading a large piece of hardware (or even to a new OS) its always a good idea to start with a barebones machine and add the bits and bobs after you get it to boot. It will take longer this way but it will narrow down the bugs as they happen…


Happy computing..



Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Mitel Your Assistant Error on XP SP2

This is the error

System.ArgumentException: Delegate to an instance method cannot have null 'this'.
at System.MulticastDelegate.ThrowNullThisInDelegateToInstance()
at NewHeights.YA3.MainWindowController.OnBootProgress(ProgressEventArgs args)
at NewHeights.BootStrapper.BootManager.ProgressEventHandler.Invoke(ProgressEventArgs args)
at NewHeights.BootStrapper.BootManager.OnProgress(ProgressEventArgs args)
at NewHeights.BootStrapper.BootManager.Shutdown(ArrayList bootables, BootableType bootableType)
at NewHeights.BootStrapper.BootManager.ShutdownImpl()
at NewHeights.BootStrapper.BootManager.Boot()
at NewHeights.YA3.MainClass.Start(BootManager bootman)

My PC is XP SP2, after a Restore to factory settings I installed Mitel Your Assistant, it wouldn't even load up.

Simple fix, install .net Framework 1.1!

Why this is needed as the product states .net 1.1 and later, it should say you can runany version of the .net framework, as long as you install 1.1 as well.

Google Earth easter egg

If you have google earth (version 4.2) and have a few minutes to spare.

danger this could be addictive.

open google earth, hold down CTRL + Windows + A

then goto here for more instructions, its very cool, great idea, microsoft did this once in Excel from memory!

Friday, October 05, 2007

aquent financial scam!!

I just recieved this sms text message:

You have recieved J30 from a friend! To collect them go to, temporary username: a571tnk password: gh2x3
best regards, Aquent Financial

The site is very new although it says copyright 2002 on the bottom, and apparently I had £30 in my account, lucky me!

ALl I had to do was leave my personal details and login in to my bank account via their Flash player easy......

The best bit is this - just before they take your login details....

I smelt a rat so did a few google searches, and came up with aquent UK ( . They offer services to freelance/IT professionals. So the scammers are being dumb and targeting geeks...

I called Aquent UK and they said it was a fraudulent sms and to ignore it, there is an Aquent Finance in th eUSA but it is not the company running the site.

Aquent UK are investigating the scam, so drop them a lime if you get the sms.

Scamming is now coming to a mobile phone near you.

update: 13:51 BST - WHOIS details for anyone looking to find these guys

Domain Name:

Status: ok

Whois Server:
Referral URL:

Expiration Date: 2008-10-04
Creation Date: 2007-10-04
Last Update Date: 2007-10-04

Name Servers:

IP Address:
Website Status: active
Server Type: Apache 3
Cache Date: 2007-10-05 12:49:05 MST

Thursday, September 27, 2007

After being asked everyday 'how to find a good immigration company/consultant?'

I have put together a PDF of a few things to look out for, a checklist if you want to call it that.

How to find a good immigration consultant (pdf download)

its free, there is no advertising, and best of all it will hopefully stop you from being ripped off by dodgy visa companies.

we aren't OISC registered, but then we dont give visa advice make sure they are!!

good luck with the visa!

Workpermit Advice Gateway team

Friday, September 21, 2007

Honest IT support

Well the need ageek service has started, my aim is simple, to make your IT lives easy.

I get calls from friends and customers everyday asking for help doing what I would call the simple IT stuff, but I do this day in and day out, know most of the shortcuts and generally know how it works inside.

So need a geek was setup to break the barriers of IT mysticism, I dont use techie talk with customers, everything is in plain english. ANd we educate you to make it easier next time.

We deal with all of LOndon and most of surrey, offering IT support, training, Home worker support, networking advice, wireless networking security/setup, home cinema help, virus removal, broadband setup etc etc etc, basically if it plugs in and has buttons on the front we can deal with it.

So dont be afraid, book your date with a geek (we promise they wont turn up with tape holding the middle of their specs toghether) at

Thursday, September 13, 2007

following on from Outlook via HTTPS://

I missed something off the earlier posts regarding setting up Outlook to connect to your exchange server via https;

When you try and connect (after it asks for your login details) this message appears in a pop up;

There is a problem with the proxy servers security certificate.
The security certificate is not from a trusted certifying authority.

Outlook is unavailable to connect to the proxy server (error code 8)

I forgot to add the certificate that the mail server creates to the trusted certifcates on my laptop. There is probably a fix so this is not a required step, but for me it makes sense as I dont want 'public' access anyway, I can control which PC/laptop/user has access this way.

so to fix: (thanks to some info here: )

save rar file attachment, extract content (1 file) to c:\

hold windows key and hit the 'R' key
type certmgr.msc
right click on 'Trusted Root Certification Authority' - click 'All Tasks' then 'import'
Click next
click browse - find the .crt file from the mail server
click next
click next
click finish
then ok if it asks you if you are sure you want to do this.


Monday, August 20, 2007

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Pounds SHillings and Sense

A New OCRE site launched - Pounds Shillings and Sense for Cascade Resources Ltd.
This site will form the basis of our new "Small Business Site", please email us at for more information regarding pricing.

Lead time at the moment is approximately 3days/

No access to hotmail from outlook

After 3 days of hotmail and outlook not talking I deceided to find out why and found this

Micrsoft have released their office connector plugin for Outllook 2007/2003. I ahve been using the beta version for quite a while now and it looks like it just stops working without telling you it has.

After downloading th plugin install it, follow all the prompts, then restart outlook.
Got to tools -> options -> mail setup -> email accounts

(your hotmail may have been removed but you have to add it again)

Clcik new, then select the tick box for 'Microsoft Office Connector', on the next screen fill in your hotmail details.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

linkedin Q & A transcript; - - moving site to CMS/wordpress

RE: Converting 5mil pageviews site to Wordpress. Question: Adsense

Hi Tom,

Right I have had a look at the vbSEO site, and it looks like most of what it does you can probably do yourself, although it may take a bit longer.

Quick question what do you mena by static url? All urls are static event he dynamic ones ie: is a dynamic page, but the URL is static - it will never change during the life of the page.

Secondly I am not big on ad revenues, I know there are people that make money with ads and banners etc, but the times I have been involved the return is small, with 5mil pages though you might be alright if you can get the volume through.

Most CMSes are pretty much the same, its apersonal preference on which one you go with, my own one OCRE is live on a number of sites, so far no complaints.

I generally steer clear of any 'big corporate' system ie word press and write my own. So I cant really comment on them.

Structure is really important, using folders for example is a good way to give the site URL structure, and for example are a guide to the user as well of where they are in the site. Although not everyone uses the URL like this web/technical people do as they know how it works.

I use _ instead of folders sometimes as its an easy way to parse sections out of urls ie:
where Immigration Compliance is the page title (and meta title and H1 title etc etc), and United Kingdom is the section.

Before the site is changed site down and pencil out a URL structure that makes sense to you and hopefully makes sense to the client. then try and stick to it.

Remember to set up the redirects for any pages you are moving to point to the new page correctly.

goodluck, and fire any questions you have and I will ahve a go at answering them.


On 8/14/07 6:22 AM, Tom Goh wrote:
Hi Craig

I'm not exactly trying to convert the whole site. I must have not put down my question properly.

I am looking at converting the news/features/content part of the site to a wordpress version or something like that, which could easily solve my problems on search engine friendliness, user friendliness and ease of managing and developing content.

I have VBSeo which apparently is claimed to boost search engine optimisation with static urls and some tweaks that also includes sitemaps creation and notification.

the 5mil pagviews comes from the forums which includes discussions and classifieds section.

I agree with the speed being a problem. In fact, i have a huge problem with speed and processing power. The current servers just can't keep up with the traffic and possibly the sql queries increased with these search engine optimising features. I am looking at moving the site to a much better server(s)

What do you think? regarding the adsense revenues from wordpress based sites or other CMSes and possibly your though on the structure of the site, which you may be able to give me some pointers?

Thanks so much for your reply!


On 8/14/07 5:42 AM, Craig Hogan wrote:
I agree with Stuart, google (and other search engines) doesn't really care about what CMS/ content engine you use to generate your page.
It does look at lots of variables, ie speed of display, traffic volumes, links to pages etc.

With that many pages some of them will be old and out of date? Because google spider your pages for new content all the time it may be worth looking into adding a sitemap (XML) that shows the newest pages at the top so older pages are spidered last.

I dont think you should worry about changing the sites back end system too much as if it upsets the structure of any of the site all your PR/value will be lost. I always advise 'tweaking' the current site before trying to start from scratch - better the devil you know.

If you need a hand feel free to contact me

Question Details:
Converting 5mil pageviews site to Wordpress. Question: Adsense

I currently run an automotive website that is based of vbulletin. The CMS i used is Vbadvanced.

I am looking to convert the CMS main page into a Wordpress based one.

-Realised the advantages of wordpress being google-friendliest
-Ease of use for me my contributors
-Limitles plugins
-Extremely well designed piece of software
-Loads very well
-End-User Friendly

I need to know, from all web publishers and people who's have similar experiences:
-How does it score with Google Adsense with the classic placements:
----Top link unit.
----Adsense units within and between 3 latest articles
----Adsense units within full articles

Do high traffic wordpress based sites get better revenues when converted from say custom main pages, cms, drupal, joomla and etc?

Or do any web publishers forsee greater revenues from Wordpress sites?


Friday, August 10, 2007

Compiler Error Message: BC30456: 'InitializeCulture'

This error:

Compiler Error Message: BC30456: 'InitializeCulture'

just arrived on our live server?
It was only affecting the home page, a page that hadn't achnaged for over 4 weeks.
The site is not a compiled site, ie all code behind files are on the live server, (not the best way, however we change the code alot so its quicker to make chanegs).
The error was not found, but I am sure it is caused by a multiple files with the same class name, ie default.

Fixed it by removing the codebehind reference, I was lucky this page has no requirement for code as all content is driven by web user controls, not the page itself.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Google index and PR (Page Rank)

I am going to go out on a limb.

After much debate and discussion in the office I have come up with a hypothesis on googles index updates and PR updates.

Many of you would have seen your sites lisings change in the last few weeks on your key keywords. Some good changes and some not so good probably, keep those meta tags up to date and change them to be current with your content.

These changes happen when google (and other search engines) decide to rollout their new index of sites/pages they have found while spidering the internet.
This is normally done every few months to keep the results they show you when you do a search up to date and 'real'.
They all have secret algorithms they use to generate this list and these are tweaked to adapt to to the way the web is used/searched etc.

The last update seemed to take a long time, actually we have seen pages from some of our sites move up and down the search lists continuously for the last month or so. Some on a daily basis.

So I am guessing that the index changes are going to continue all the time and the days of big index updates may be a thing of the past.
As an SEO person this is good and bad. Good it makes it harder for 'black hat' search engine companies to achieve faked/forced ranking, Bad I have to work harder and more efficiantly to amke sure all of your sites are stabile.

Remember there is no 100% guaruntee with search engine listings, they can go down as well as up, with these changes it just menas the time they stay where they are is not set in stone anymore, a year or so ago you could have said it would stay put for a month maybe 2 in the same palce, now well, its like watching the tide come in and go out over a piecec of driftwood.

I could be completely wrong, it may just be a really big update and algorithm change, I cant be sure.

Check it yourself, this is a good idea to do anyway irrespective of this scenario, open a spreadsheet, add a column with your keywords in it and a nother with todays date. Do a search in google (or any other search engine), count how many sites are listed before your and chuck that number in the corresponding cell.
Next week do the same, and so on and so on.

Please leave any results here (or email me) as I am really keen to see what the results will be.

goodluck with the SEO results


It has been a while since I have added anything here, it has been a busy month, with moving house and getting ready for a wedding, not long now.

I have updated (at last) my Linked In profile View Craig Hogan's profile on LinkedIn

Please leave any feedback here for me and my future customers to read and review.

Ocre CMS has had number of additons, mainly to fix external problems with search engines spidering bad urls. The 404 page not found system if finished and will be rolled in to the next release.

Lambert Howarth Plc - has gone live recently, thanks to Darren and Ian for the help over there with the issues.

The new chillfire site is on the drawing board (up to v5 now, cant make my mind up), I am looking to have a full customer support system, tickets, forum etc built in and an online crm, once its done I will post the screenshots of the new additions.

Thanks to everyone who has helpeed with Ocre, a new interface will be available in the next few months, I know the black and orange can be a bit depressing, if anyone has ideas for colour schems please drop me a mail.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Windows Server 2003 R2 - network connection error

This is a weird one that I have heard about from one other person,

I have just installed Windows Server 2003 R2 onto an HP DX2000 desktop, setup went perfect, very fast and simple. I liked the fact that nothing installed by default so install time was approx 40mins from CD Boot.

However 3 hours later I still could not connect to the LAN?
And as this release of the server family is supposedly the easiest to configure and get going I was perplexed. I installed every version of the network drivers available.
Still the same error, the network would connect and start dhcp then drop after a few seconds then a few minutes later the same over and over etc etc.

A few years ago I was told of aadsl modem that would not connect to a certain brand (top level one - red) of firewall with similiar symptoms, this was caused by something to do with the phasing of the network card firmware. I am not an expert so if anyone can shed some light on how this really works I am interested in hearing the real explanation.
As far as I understand the sitch/hub/router trys to talk with the network card at random intervals, and the network card does the same to the sitch/hub etc.

But what if they both are using the same algorithm to guess when to talk next?....

I fixed my problem the same I was shown to fix the firewall modem put a hub/switch between them and hey presto it works as the in between device will get both lots of talk at the same time but adjusts the pasing to suit itself... easy

Would have been a quicker fix if I had remembered it earlier.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

safe SEO - asp redirect

Is it a permitanent redirect? or tenporary?

If permanent;
In the index.asp (or default.asp) put the code below in the <> section, the location url has to Fully qualified

<%@ Language=VBScript %>
Response.Status="301 Moved Permanently";

If temp change 301 to 302 in the script

once in place check the redirect is giving a 301 status, otherwise search engines may see it as a spamm site

Monday, June 25, 2007

new microsoft surface is here!

I saw this in development via the web about three years ago, and now out of (seemingly) nowhere microsoft launch it as "Surface", based on the silverlight platform, it is the next step in the 'flas' type platform where web/interfaces are now multimedia rich applications, the surface platform just adds the touch sreen world to this and combined makes my job as a web developer tough (I am not complainin though).

No more will people be happy with flat, no media websites, they will want by default a feature rich site that works on all browsers with embedded video, sound, moving living information.

To be honest I am happy, the 'web' at last can break free from its static life (I am not a great fan of flash as its not SEO friendly, silverlight is written in XAML (text) so can be 'read' by search engines) and move into the realms of desktop software where everything is live now not waiting for a click of a mouse etc.

It may be a while before Surface and Silverlight make it into everyday websites/stores, when it does it will definately change the face of both highstreet and web experiences and bring them so much closer.

Monday, June 18, 2007

semi conducter geekness

It is amazing who you meet at weddings.
I was chatting to a guy called B , who said he was an engineer, he was german over 2m tall.
His job is to make things smaller, if you have ever thought to yourself, 'there is no way thy can make my mobile any smaller' and then a week later you see they have.... Well B is one of the men on the planet that understands all of those IT articles that explain how stuff is stored onto semiconducter chips (ie flash memory.....). Not ony does he understand it he has a pretty good idea how to fit more information into the same space.

The smallest amount of space we can have curenntly without going into quantum physics is one atom big, from memory we are in the 600nm (Nanometre - approx 3 atoms per nanometer), so if moores law holds true we will be naring capacity shortly (a few years...) Oh no he says that is only if we use 2 dimensional storage....

I cant recall alot of the conversation after this I was just like the thought of a 200Gb SD card, a few years ago these were limited to 32Mb of storage, now you can but 4Gb cards, albeit pricey.

It looks like the age of solidstate storage is going to hit shortly and the ideas are endless, can you imagine downloading an entire DVD and storing it on a piece of silicon the size of a grain of rice?
Its all poosible before we even get to quantum ideas.

You sometimes forget there are people out there who are passionate about their job, we take them for granted but thout people like B and the companies they work for we would still be draggin briefcase size mobile phones around while waiting for the post to arrive...

hats off to all those who do the work we all take for granted!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Summer is on its way - albeit not today

With summer on its way (its raining today, but I am assurred the English summer will be here soon) its that time of year again that I wonder if the old server sitting in the corner in the sun will survive just one more year.

To quote a blog post - "Note to future IT hopefuls:Computers make heat. Heat is BAD."

PCs, servers especially run hot, all the time, there are warning stickers on some of the servers I have seen that say 'Do not run this server with this side panel off'.
Every time you Server/PC shuts down due to heat (called a thermo-shutdown, its normally automatic once Processor gets to 60+ deg C) it looses 1 yr of its life and they are not designed to last forever (well some are - HP competiton )

So with a scorching summer on its way here are a few tips to keep it cool, (note they dont run under water);
- Air con is good, it may be hard on the electricity bill and maybe the environment but the cost of downtime and early server retirement may be worth it)
- Keep access to the servers limited, I have seen a server room door left open to cool the rest of the office as there was only one air con unit in the place and in the open plan space
- You could look at virtualising some of the server functions - consolidating the number of machines running your company will mean less heat created etc, leaving the released servers to be used as backups?
- Keep the severs in the same cooled or at least well vetilated room, this aids security as well.

I currently have 4 servers in the crypt of a no really it is, as the room is below ground level under the chapel it is naturally cooler down there. With a portable air con unit on standby incase it gets too hot, the room sits at around 35 de C, which is probably a little warm, but the aircon cant cool it any more than 30 deg C as the heat outlet pipe heats the room up as its cooling. However the system works well.

Make sure you have a backup system in place as the heat can kill:

If you need any advice on server virtualisation, cooling or security feel free to drop me an email

goodluck with the summer heat.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

new google product

I have just found it looks like a great concept for broadband, and with google backing it all the way, who knows how far it will go.

goodluck with the free 8mbps 'trickle line'

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

SEO forums - worth weight in gold

Well with the development of the new CMS out of the way I am back into the SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) forums (

This is a great place to find information out about the how-to side of good/ethical SEO.
The moderators do a great job of 'keeping it clean' and people are quite open about how they do what they do so well.

check out my latest post

Any SEO benchmarking required?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007 profile

I have been using for a number of years and finally have got around to posting about them.

The site is a very good place for freelancers to start looking for projects, jobs and even business alliances.
It has a simple layout and a good reputation amongst reelance professionals, it is mainly geared towards IT/design etc, however there are always jobs from other sectors posted.

my profile is

goodluck on the job hunt.

Yeah Nah Umm Bro - more T-shirts

I have just added a few new Yeah Nah Umm Bro designs and products!

I saw couple of guys at the Walkabout Embankment (London) wearing them, great to see!

remember to 'keep speaking kiwi'

Paypal will be a bank

I heard on the news this morning that PayPal will become a real bank, with offices in Luxemburg.

Its amazing that this was started form nothing a few years ago.
Looks like Yahoo is onto a winner here.

Bring on the PayPal credit card.

new ocre CMS on the way

I am about to release the latest version of ocre CMS.
There is new functionality along with a new database system, some of the older versions (1.x) are not compatible at the moment, but am happy to port them across if you want need to (your webserver will nee to be upgraded - see below).

Ocre is now 2.0 compatible and implements some of the new Atlas toolkit controls, these help to create a really nice interface and more of a desktop feel to the admin tools.

Some of the new features:
- Multi content ability, you can have differnet content on the same URL depending on where people have come from, this is perfect for 'content specific Landing pages'.
- News feed reader and editor, add newsd directly form any number of RSS/XML feeds.
- Social Bookmark me - using
- Customer reporting, more in depth tracking of people using your site.
- E-commerce package plugin for ProTx, take payments online via ProTx (paypal as well)
- Multi level navigation, up to 3 levels deep
- Cross browser drop-down menus, and content

All old features have been updated to use the new framework and atlas
I have not used the public release of the Atlas toolkit as this needs to be installed on the hosts server and as most of you are hosted on remote servers the controls (and site) will not work.

What about the speed, there as never been an issue with the speed of the content engine in ocre, however with the internet/computers getting faster I am looking at making the engine more efficient.

I will keep you all posted about this.

If there are any issues with your current ocre install or if you would like information please drop me an email .


Saturday, May 12, 2007

Yeah Nah Umm Bro

Kiwi T-shirts for teh international Kiwi....

Yeah Nah Umm Bro!
Speakg Kiwi For Ages

new google analytics

Google launched a new Beta version of their web analytics tools.

The interface is very 'google', they are using the latest flash plugin to display graphs, images etc.
It is completely different from the old one, however it is very functional and with the move of 'seldom used' menu items the experience is much cleaner and easier to use.

Will be interesting to see what new tools are added before the Beta version is released 'live'

Friday, April 20, 2007

exchange 2003 vs active directory distribution/securituy lists

A simple problem I thought, I use Active directory security groups for group email list.
I know this isn't best however when I set the security group up I needed it for security of folders not for distribuiton of group emails and it worked as an group email address for my users in outlook.

However when new users were added to the group they would/would not appear int he DL.
After much umming and arring I decided to change the security group into a DL.....Not advisable unless you check where its used and if you do it may not take effect straight away, it can catch up with you.
And got the message that some of the users in the security group had the group as their 'Primary Group'.
Each user user in this position were missing from outlook's group email list.

Fixed by editing the users primary group to be 'Domain Users', all done.
It never occurred that having your primary group would remove you from the email list?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Could not load file or assembly 'Microsoft.Web.Extensions, Version=1.0.61025.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35' or one of its depend

Have been building for Northland Family Four Wheelers (New Zealand off road club my family helped set up).
The site was working fine on my test server, however once it was ftp'd this message appeared:

Could not load file or assembly 'Microsoft.Web.Extensions, Version=1.0.61025.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35' or one of its dependencies. The system cannot find the file specified.

After deleting the problem lines out of the web.config file I realised the problem was the Ajax extensions. Although I never used them in the site I had created the site form the Visual Studio Ajax template (not the Atlas Toolkit one the new Ajax 2.0 release) which it seems you need to have installed in the host server GAC.

The old Atlas Toolkit still works on any server running .net Frameowrk 2.0, as it has its own .dll that sits in the bin folder of the project. However the Ajax release for .net is part of the framework so need to be installed onto the server.

Be careful: Make sure the hosting company has it installed before you start developing the site, if they dont you will have to unpick the entire application and replace all controls with the ctp/version (if they existed).

ext link to forums:

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

hotmail blocking emails

It looks like hotmail is blocking emails, possibly in a bid to stop spam?
I have emailed my hotmail account from 5 different domains, and only one is going through without any delay (tiscali) 1 is taking an age and the other 3 are being dumped, there is no 'NDR' - Non Delivery Report, no bounce message, no notification that the message hasn't gone anywhere.
Very frustrating, they (hotmail) used to dump a lot of emails into the junk mail folder, now it seems it just doesn't arrive at all?

Monday, April 02, 2007

3 weeks in new zealand

Well after one week of work its time to think about my holiday again...
3 weeks in New Zealand, a well needed holiday, I spent the entire time at my brothers/parents farm without broadband (not even rubberband speed), so checking an average email account is painful... I went to an internet cafe in whangarei, but they didn't have plug and play capibilty for my laptop....
I spent about 4hr online at 56kbps.... and sent 5 email, and read few here and there that looked important.

The world without broadband is a bit unusual, from using the web for everything - tv schedules, music, recipes etc I was left pondering what to do next.
So I braved the outside world, and remembered that pre internet life wasn't that bad. Okay I couldn't buy stuff on ebay or buy songs online, so I went to a record shop (they even had records) and bought 5 LPs (dont have an LP player....) and 3 CDs (all of which are now part of my MP3 library).

I realised I spend way too much time at the monitor/keyboard, not a life changing revelation but a good reminder to get out a bit more.
Broadband in the north of New Zealand is fairly few and far between, you can get dialup 115kbps, or 336kpbs on GPRS/3G but pretty much anything over that is a business only level.
Telephone exchanges are being upgraded all the time, but with only 4million people living there and a land mass approx same as most of england you can see where the problem is.

One thing that made my holiday was the music, NZ has a massive rock following, try for a very good rock station - definately 5 stars for quaity of music.

I will post a few holiday snaps up on my site shortly, my brothers wedding went well (a week later and it would have bee 400mm under water) photos here , goodluck to Brett and Jo as well.

server flood in the uk

Well the first week was fairly busy, we had a flood in the server room while I was away, luckily the water was no deeper than the height of the proliants plastic feet....(I would have really like a photo of this situation, bit sadistic, but ot see a room full of servers up to their bottoms in water and still running would make a cool poster to remind everyone to have a backup system in place),I will never take these off again, so lots of checks on systems etc to make sure all is well, looks like the the pc on the floor shorted out once it became submerged and blew the fuse, and all systems went down.

In the event we lost 2 desktops, one plugged in the other just full of silt now, very lucky, used all 9 server lives in this event.

I am not sure how we would have coped with the possibility of no database/files/data and a mail server under water....
I am guessing I would have built two virtual servers up as 'clones' until newhardware could be purchased via insurance etc. Not something have practised or even run through in my head before.

But in my backup system I never had a section for complete annihilation of company servers, I do now and am in the proces of setting up an offsite server (across a vpn) which will have copies of all data, mail, files etc.

Still a big job to recreate an office, but at least its a starting point.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Server has black logon screen

We just had a power cut and when everything came back to life our exchange server (proliant) booted to a black screen, oddly enough it still seemed to work, if you know the order of the buttons you can still login....


after much hunting it seems that the system default colours in the registry have the odd bug that if the machines system drive runs out of space they may reset themselves to 0 0 0...

ALthough not the same cause,, definately the same problem, to fix this I did (and dont advise, so if you do and it doesn't work or the server becomes an expensive paper weight, there are no guaruntees, no liabilty etc);

1- using regedit on a pc on the same network, goto file -> connect to network registry
Type in the name of the server with the problem.

NOTE this is a live server do not adjust any settings you are not sure about (ie all of them) any false moves and your machine could be toast.

2- Got to the "HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Colors" entries, you will see they are all set to 0 0 0.
You can set these three numbers to any RGB (if you dont know what this is I would stop now) you like, the system defaults are below, change each color setting to the one listed

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Colors]
"ActiveBorder"="212 208 200"
"ActiveTitle"="10 36 106"
"AppWorkSpace"="128 128 128"
"Background"="102 111 116"
"ButtonAlternateFace"="181 181 181"
"ButtonDkShadow"="64 64 64"
"ButtonFace"="212 208 200"
"ButtonHilight"="255 255 255"
"ButtonLight"="212 208 200"
"ButtonShadow"="128 128 128"
"ButtonText"="0 0 0"
"GradientActiveTitle"="166 202 240"
"GradientInactiveTitle"="192 192 192"
"GrayText"="128 128 128"
"Hilight"="10 36 106"
"HilightText"="255 255 255"
"HotTrackingColor"="0 0 128"
"InactiveBorder"="212 208 200"
"InactiveTitle"="128 128 128"
"InactiveTitleText"="212 208 200"
"InfoText"="0 0 0"
"InfoWindow"="255 255 225"
"Menu"="212 208 200"
"MenuText"="0 0 0"
"Scrollbar"="212 208 200"
"TitleText"="255 255 255"
"Window"="255 255 255"
"WindowFrame"="0 0 0"
"WindowText"="0 0 0"

Now I can see my login screen!

see link for more info:

Friday, February 23, 2007

resetting the default virtual directories for OWA 2003

Everynow and then you will need to reset the directories for exchange 2003 OWA (outlook web access). I have been setting OWA up to run in https mode and playing with OMA (outlook mobile access) for my PDA, in doing so I got it working nut along the way needed to reset the directories, and rather than unpicking all the changes I ghad made I found this much easier and quicker.

The tasks are simple but i can never remember the order the link below has the answers;

good luck.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Remember company details on all e-Docs.

Company Details update
On January 01 2007 legislation from The Companies Act 2006 relating to electronic documents came into force. To avoid being in breach of the Act all companies in the UK must include certain regulatory information on their website and in certain e-mail correspondence:

"Every company must list its company registration number, place of registration and registered office address on its website as a result of an update to the legislation of 1985. The information, which must be in legible characters, should also appear on order forms and in emails. Such information is already required on 'business letters' but the duty is being extended to websites, order forms and electronic documents."

For further details on the Companies Act 2006 see

Information that must be on your website
The name, geographic address and email address of the service provider. The name of the organisation with which the customer is contracting must be given. This might differ from the trading name. Any such difference should be explained – e.g. " is the trading name of ABC Limited."

It is not sufficient to include a 'contact us' form without also providing an email address and geographic address somewhere easily accessible on the site. A PO Box is unlikely to suffice as a geographic address; but a registered office address would. If the business is a company, the registered office address must be included.

If a company, the company's registration number should be given and, under the Companies Act, the place of registration should be stated (e.g. "ABC Limited is a company registered in England and Wales with company number 1234567") If the business is a member of a trade or professional association, membership details, including any registration number, should be provided.
If the business has a VAT number, it should be stated – even if the website is not being used for e-commerce transactions.
Prices on the website must be clear and unambiguous.
Also, state whether prices are inclusive of tax and delivery costs.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

best SEO descrition I have read in a while

Have a look at Matt Hockins breakdown of SEO here -, the descriptions are very good and have a down to earth feel.
Any questions regarding SEO and your site drop me an email, or a the bottom of Matts page is a query request for an assessment from his company.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

google back links

After many changes in the google index and page ranks around the net google have changed how /what they tel us webmasters about our sites.

You can check the sites that link into your site (called a backlink) via google search, just type (ie This has never been 100% accurate as google has held back this information to stop black book SEO techniques and sites fighting over links etc (not a bad thing in the big scheme of things).

Google has chanegd its tune sightly in that if you have a google webmaster account (anyone can have one, you just need a site that you own - if you need one of these mail us: ) .

The webmaster toolkit is an online set of pages giving you access to the information that google has about your site, from web spider activity to highest ranking page this month. Now it breaks down you backlinks for you, very handy as you can check the quality of sites linking to your individual pages etc.

If you have any requirements for some SEO or just general website advice please dont hesitate to email us, we try and reply (no auto responder) withinin 24hrs, but you wont get a free hamburger if we dont.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

live expo!

Just posted an ad on the new live expo, free ads site, bit like craigslist i suppose but with the might of microsoft live behind it.

Monday, January 29, 2007

SQL 2005 restoring backups files.....uncompessed?

A simple task I thought, restoring an old SQL 2000 database into my new SQL 2005 server.

I was getting this error;

Create failed for Database 'Compressed_DB'. (Microsoft.SqlServer.Smo)

An exception occurred while executing a Transact-SQL statement or batch. (Microsoft.SqlServer.ConnectionInfo)

The file "D:\Compressed_DB.mdf" is compressed but does not reside in a read-only database or filegroup. The file must be decompressed.

CREATE DATABASE failed. Some file names listed could not be created. Check related errors. (Microsoft SQL Server, Error: 5118)

I was completely stumped with the decompressed part of the message, found the solution though .

- Simple fix is to restore the files back to my C drive which is uncompressed.
- Other fix would be to take compression off the offending d drive.

Understanding "login failed" (Error 18456) error messages in SQL Server 2005

More on vista on my development laptop.

SQL 2000 just doesn' run on vista. Bit of a pain, I have a virtual PC (XP SP2) running instead, but have installed SQL Server 2005, all went well, install did take ages.... But with installed I got the 'Understanding "login failed" (Error 18456) error messages in SQL Server 2005 ' error message which found this blog

All fixed now

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

EXECUTE permission denied on object 'sp_sdidebug', database 'master', owner 'dbo'.

I have hit a few problems after installing vista on to my laptop, the trickiest to fix was this one

EXECUTE permission denied on object 'sp_sdidebug', database 'master', owner 'dbo'.

When running Visual studio 2005 and debugging a site this error pops up, this is the easiest fix ever, thanks to Chris' blog;, it saved the day.

Simply put you have to set the debugger to only check the native code, otherwise it 'guesses' which code to debug including SQL code, which it doesn't have access right to.

More on the vista install as it happens


EXECUTE permission denied on object 'sp_sdidebug', database 'master', owner 'dbo'.

I have hit a few problems after installing vista on to my laptop, the trickiest to fix was this one

EXECUTE permission denied on object 'sp_sdidebug', database 'master', owner 'dbo'.

When running Visual studio 2005 and debugging a site this error pops up, this is the easiest fix ever, thanks to Chris' blog;, it saved the day.

Simply put you have to set the debugger to only check the native code, otherwise it 'guesses' which code to debug including SQL code, which it doesn't have access right to.

More on the vista install as it happens


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

firewall problems

With everyones pcs becoming 'robots' and more and more spam the question of what type of firewall you should use arises again and again, have a look at my gumtree posting - which firewall for some simple advice.

If you are stuck with what type of firewall you need, for home or business use please drop me an email

Monday, January 22, 2007

Google update complete causes chaos?

Check out my post

The forums a re great place to get together with SEo people from all over the net, ask questions and even get answers.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

SQL server MMC error

I got this a error when trying to open SQL enterprise manager;

AppName: mmc.exe AppVer: 5.1.2600.2180 ModName: mmc.exe
ModVer: 5.1.2600.2180 Offset: 0001f07e

After some (much) searching I found this on

-         It happens to be an error with the MMC application data file for enterprise manager in my user profile.

From windows explorer, browse to the "MMC" folder under C:\Documents and Settings\[user_profile]\Applicaiton Data\Microsoft\ (This is a hidden folder and to be able to view it you must show hidden files and folders in the "Tools" --> "Folder Options" --> "View" settings). There should be a file named "SQL Server Enterprise Manager". You can either delete or rename this file (I prefer the latter). MMC will re-create this file the next time you access Enterprise Manager and should then be working properly.

Fixed the problem