Dec 262011
 

Ever since I updated my Samsung Focus, to Windows Phone 7 (Mango), I’ve been having troubles downloading attachments on the fly from my Exchange account on my server.

Typically I would open an e-mail, click on the attachment, and it would fail stating: Cannot download attachment. A work around I found for this was to hit “Back” hit the sync button, then the attachment would be available. However this was SUPER annoying.

Another feature that didn’t work was to search for items on the Exchange Server.

I did a bunch of research on this and found numerous other people who had the same issue. Their fixes would often temporarily resolve the issue, but typically the issue would come back.

Today; I installed Service Pack 2 for Exchange 2010 on my server. After doing this, I noticed that on the fly attachment downloading is now working, along with searching the Exchange Server.

To resolve this, simply install Exchange 2010 Service Pack 2.

Dec 142011
 

Recently I had the task of setting up a Site-to-Site IPSec tunnel between my office and one of my employees home office. At my main business HQ we have an Astaro Security Gateway running inside of a vSphere 4 cluster. However I had to find the cheapest way to get the employee hooked up.

The main tasks of the VPN endpoint at the employee’s site was:

1) Filter web, pop3, and provide security for the devices behind the ASG at the home office (1-3 computers, and other random devices)

2) Provider a Site to Site VPN connection and to allow the user access to internal resources, along with providing access to our VoIP PBX (VoIP phone at employee site)

3) Provide access to other resources such as exchange, CRM, etc… And reverse management of devices at home office from HQ

First I needed to find an affordable computer to install the Astaro Security Gateway V8 software appliance on to. My company is an HP Partner, and we love their products, so I decided to purchase a new computer that would be powerfull enough to host the ASG software, and also be protected under HP’s business warranty. I wanted the system to have enough performance that in the future, if the home office was decommisioned, we would be able to use it still as an ASG device but for something else (let’s say a real remote office).

After taking a look at our distributor to find out what was immediately available (as this was a priority), we deiced to pick up a HP Compaq 4000 Pro Small Form Factor PC. Below are the specs:

HP Compaq 4000 Pro Small Form Factor PC

Part Number: LA072UT (Or LA072UT#ABA for the English version in Canada)

System features
Processor Intel® Core™2 Duo Processor E7500 (2.93 GHz, 3 MB L2 cache, 1066 MHz FSB)
Operating system installed Genuine Windows® 7 Professional 32-bit
Chipset Intel® B43 Express
Form factor Small Form Factor
PC Management Available for free download from www.hp.com/go/easydeploy: HP Client Automation Starter; HP SoftPaq Download Manager; HP Client Catalog for Microsoft SMS; HP Systems Software Manager
Memory
Standard memory 2 GB 1333 MHz DDR3 SDRAM
Memory slots 2 DIMM
Storage
Internal drive bays One 3.5″
External drive bays One 3.5″
One 5.25″
Internal drive 500 GB 7200 rpm SATA 3.0 Gb/s NCQ, Smart IV
Optical drive SATA SuperMulti LightScribe DVD writer
Graphics
Graphic card Integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 4500
Expansion features
I/O ports 8 USB 2.0
1 serial (optional 2nd)
1 parallel (optional)
1 PS/2 keyboard
1 PS/2 mouse
1 VGA
1 DVI-D
1 microphone/headphone jack
1 audio in
1 audio line out
1 RJ-45
Slots 2 low-profile PCI
1 low-profile PCIe x16
1 low-profile PCIe x1
Media devices
Audio Integrated High Definition audio with Realtek 2 channel ALC261 codec
Communication features
Network interface 10/100/1000
Power and operating requirements
Power Requirements 240W power supply – active PFC
Operating Temperature Range 10 to 35°C
Dimensions and Weight
Product weight Starting at 7.6 kg
Dimensions (W x D x H) 33.8 x 37.85 x 10 cm
Security management
Security management Stringent Security (via BIOS)
SATA Port Disablement (via BIOS)
Drive Lock
Serial, Parallel, USB enable/disable (via BIOS)
Optional USB Port Disable at factory (user configurable via BIOS)
Removable Media Write/Boot Control
Power-On Password (via BIOS)
Setup Password (via BIOS)
HP Chassis Security Kit
Support for chassis padlocks and cable lock devices
What’s included
Software included Microsoft Windows Virtual PC
HP Power Assistant
Warranty features Protected by HP Services, including a 3 years parts, 3 years labour, and 3 years onsite service (3/3/3) standard warranty. Terms and conditions vary by country. Certain restrictions and exclusions apply.

This system was spec’d very nicely for the requirements we had. Another huge bonus is that it was covered under a factory 3 year warranty from HP. Which means that if anything failed, we would have next business day replacement (I love this, and so do my clients who all purchase HP). The one downside is that the system shipped with a Windows 7 license which we wouldn’t be using, but for the price of the system, it didn’t really matter.

The system only came standard with one Gigabit NIC (Network card), however we need two since this device is acting as a firewall/router. It’s a Small Form Factor system, so we had to find a second network adapter which was compatible with the computers case form factor. The card which we purchased was:

HP – Intel Gigabit CT Desktop NIC

Part Number: FH969AA

Although the computer above is not in the compatibility list for the network card, the network card still worked perfect. Once received, we simply replace the case bracket on the card with one that shipped with it for small form factor computers.

We then burned the .ISO image of the ASG V8 software appliance, and proceeded to install it on the system. It installed (along with the 64-bit kernel) perfectly on the computer. After the install was completed, we configured it to connect to our main central Astaro Command Center and shipped the device out to the employee’s home office.

Once installed, we logged on to the Astaro Command Center user interface, and created a Site to Site IPsec using the wizard. Within 2-5 seconds the connection was established and everything was working 100%.

After using this for a few days, I checked to make sure the computer was powerful enough to be providing the services required, and it was without any problems.

Just wanted to share my experience in case anyone else is doing something similar to what I did above. If you were to reproduce this, all the hardware should be under $700.00 CAD.

Dec 102011
 

Sick and tired of “Toner Low”, “Prepare New Toner Cartridge”, or even “Toner End of Life”?

Here’s a little hack for you people out there who have a Brother MFC-9840CDW and want to squeeze a few more copies out of your toner cartridges. Keep in mind, this can probably void your warranty so do it at your own risk.

This works on both standard, and high-yield toner cartridges.

There are two components to this: 1) The hardware aspect: There is a laser or something that shoots through a clear plastic seethrough circle (on both sides) of the toner. 2) The software aspect: The toner counter has to be reset.

Let’s get to it:

Hardware

Remove the toner tray and remove a single toner cartridge. On the either side of the toner cartridge you should see a clear plastic circle that should have traces of the color of the toner possibly on it. PLEASE NOTE: This is located on the side of the toner cartridge, don’t mess with anything else. Simply tear a small peice of paper and put some tape on the back, and slap it on the clear plastic. You only need to do this on one side per cartridge. This will fool the printer in to thinking that physically the toner has ink in it.

Software

I could be wrong, but the printer recognizes whether or not your using a standard or high-yield toner cartridges and keeps track of how many pages you print, and how much ink you use. You will need to reset this to clear the “Toner End of Life” message which stops you from printing. First you need to cover the toner holes as mentioned above in “Hardware”. Then you can proceed with this.

Open the front of the machine (as if you were wanting to get access to the toner cartridges). Now hit the “Clear/Back” button. This will open a secret menu on the front of the printer. Depending on whether you are using Standard to High Yield cartridges, you will want to use the menu to reset the counters for the applicable toner cartridges. There is 2 options (one for standard, and one for high yield) for each color of cartridge.

After this, you should be able to print again!