Friday, 30 September 2011

Weight loss update 30/09/11

My current weight is 19st 7lb and I'm now down to 56 points a day which i'm still struggling to get to.

Need to do more exercise that fits in with a desk job (or need a job that fits in with exercise lol)

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Ramblings of a Geek

Gary Kemp, a former colleague, has started a new blog/forum for providing peer support for IT issues.

Check it out - it'll be interesting to see how it develops

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Personal Development

I've started the road to my next lot of education by signing up as a student at the Open University Business School. Initially, I'm taking the Professional Certificate of Management but I'm hoping to then go on to do an MBA.

As part of my initial reading, I've started reading James Caan's autobiography and it's actually very insightful. I'd recommend reading it even if you have no interest in business as it's a fantastic story in it's own right.

Weight Loss Diary 20/09/11

OK I probably haven't made the best start possible with this so I'm resolving to write something here every day.

I went to my first weigh in last night at weight watchers and i've lost 5 1/2 lbs which isn't too bad but it could be better.

Pro Points are a little different to how I remember WW - I get a daily allowance of 57 points but you also get a weekly 'overflow' allowance of 49 points. To be honest, I'm struggling just to get my 57 points and haven't gone anywhere near the overflow.

WW have an iPhone app which I'm using to track my food, points and exercise (which there still isn't much of) but there's no obvious way within the app to share this.

If I find it i'll post the link.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Weight loss diary 13/09/11

Last night I went and joined weight watchers. I weigh 20st 1lb so I can have 57 points.

Today I used 28 points.

Monday, 12 September 2011


Those of you that know me personally will know that I could probably do with losing a bit of weight. Well a lot of weight. Having done biology to A-Level and the best part of an entire social science degree, I'm more than aware why I'm overweight. My issue is more one of motivation.

After some discussion with my brother, he suggested that one way to motivate myself would be to commit my progress to err... screen.

As such, mixed in with my blog posts from now on is going to be a diary of sorts.

I'll have to see how it goes.

Monday, 5 September 2011

How does tech support have an impact on the bottom line?

I've been thinking about this for a while so I thought i'd put it in a blog and share my thoughts on it.

It's a question I've come across quite often in my long(ish) career in IT - many guys that I've encountered working in support think that it's the sales team that bring in the money and that they just have to fix issues. I've been in that position and sometimes when you're right in the middle of something, it can be distracting to have to put it to one side to fix someone's print spooler or scanner or excel macro... well you get the idea.

The thing is, the support guys probably have far more contact with the customer than the sales team ever did - to the customer these guys are the company and it's their experience with the front end that decides how long they remain a customer. Ultimately, without customers you have no business.

I read a blog post over the weekend on the MS Dynamics Community that put it in a much better way than I could.

In my last job we went on training with Ken Blanchard who is a great speaker on effective leadership. One point he makes is that if you (managers) want to change your business for the better, then you need to lead from the front. Incentivising good performance is also another great way of actioning change in an organisation.

Any readers of my blogs from the past will notice that this post has a little more business focussed content than they're used to. I have just started the road to an MBA so you can expect more of this sort of stuff along with the usual tech stuff.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Steve Jobs resigns as Apple CEO

All over the news and tech blogs this morning is the news that Steve Jobs has resigned as Apple CEO. To be honest this isn't unexpected as  he's been suffering with Cancer for a while now but it's still sad. The company is in safe hands with Tim Cook as the new CEO but it's still a great loss for Apple and the greater tech community  in general. I just read Steve's 2006 Stanford commencement address again and one passage struck a chord with me about the futility of life and speaks volumes about Steve's approach to running Apple as a company and to his own life:
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
 I know some people are Apple fanatics and others don't have the time of day for Apple products but there's no denying that Steve has created something unique and special. I hope Steve is able to take time to get better and wish him all the best.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

IT4Charity Blog

I'm in the process of developing a blog at work. It's still a work in progress but feel free to take a look.

It's at

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Opinon: Blackberry Colt

I just read an article on Electricpig concerning a rumored future blackberry device that's supposedly going to run QNX - the same OS that the PlayBook runs on. The article discusses the 5 things the author thinks it needs to succeed, While it's a well written article, I must take issue with some of the points made:

  1. BES - When I used to work within Microsoft, I used to regularly have to produce material on how Exchange ActiveSync was more effective than BES as it was native to Exchange Server whereas BES is an additional layer of middleware (with additional TCO). I agree that for existing BES users, this may stop them migrating to the new device but for new enterprise customers it will save them a fortune in licensing costs alone.
  2. Flash - I totally agree that Flash is pretty much a given these days but I don't think it's a requirement for competing with iPhone 4 which doesn't support Flash at all. Most of my web browsing takes place on my iPhone 4 and to be honest, I've never encountered a website where I thought "*!%@$ If I only I had Flash!". To compete with iPhone 4, it's all about the User Experience (UX) - Lot's of devices of various flavours (Android, Symbian, WP7 Mango etc) stand head and shoulders above the iDevice in terms of features but I wouldn't change and will likely get an iPhone 5 because I love the UX.

The other three points he makes are bang on :)

Published Work

I need a repository for a list of my published work so for the time being, this is it:

Microsoft Identity and Access Management Series (Joint Author)

Accelerated Linux administration for experienced HP-UX or Sun Solaris administrators

Systems Management Server 2003 Concepts, Planning, and Deployment Guide (Subject Matter Expert and Beta Teach)

Installing, Configuring, Troubleshooting, and Maintaining Windows Vista (Lead author and beta teach)

Exchange Server 2003 Security Hardening Guide (Lead Author)

Introduction to Installing and Managing Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 (Lead author and beta teach)

Using Windows System Resource Manager with Windows Server 2003

Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 Speech Server (Lead Author)

Monday, 8 August 2011

Outlook 2010 Best Practices

OK we seem to be on a bit of a roll with Windows stuff today so I thought I'd share a link to Outlook 2010 Best Practices from Microsoft. This is actually a very well thought out article and over the many years I've been working with Exchange servers, I've seen many a user mailbox that could have done with some of this advice.

A lot of the steps are Outlook specific but some of the general principles apply to all e-mail services.

Backup not working on SBS2011? That'll be Sharepoint's fault!

We recently had an issue on several recent installs of SBS 2011 Standard whereby backups kept failing.

After some digging, it turned out that the culprit was an incomplete installation of  Sharepoint Foundation SP1.

You can find the full details over at the SBS forum but basically you run a powershell command to see if the upgrade has completed properly and if it hasn't, you need to run psconfig with a couple of modifiers.


How To Clear the Outlook Email Address Auto Complete Cache

For some reason, the auto-complete in my Outlook 2010 has gone screwy and started having the incorrect addresses for auto-complete entries.There are several options but as this is a relatively new install of Outlook, I'm going to nuke the cache. "That would make a good blog post" I thought to myself, so here goes.

It's actually surprisingly easy too and works for Outlook 2003, 2007 and 2010.

Outlook 2010 Method

  1. In Outlook 2010, click File and then click Options.
  2. Click the Mail tab.
  3. Under Send Messages, click Empty Auto-Complete List.
Outlook 2003/2007 Method

  1. Make sure Outlook is closed.
  2. Open Windows Explorer and browse to %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Outlook (or just copy and paste it into the address bar).
  3. Rename Outlook.nk2 to outlook nk2.bak (just in case you need it ever again)
  4. Thats it. There is no step 4 :-)

For a more in-depth look at the various options related to Outlook auto-complete cache, look at this KB article which has every permutation of config steps known to man.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Of blogs and blogging

We've just been having a conversation about blogs at work which made me think of this one.

I've not been near my personal blog for a while now as I tend to post opinion and the stuff that was previously blog fodder to Facebook and, more recently, Google+.

For anyone interested, I now have a new job. University is over and I'm working full time again.

I may post some stuff here if the mood grabs me.