Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

New Job!

August 3, 2012 Leave a comment

No Longer am I a Dealership SysAdmin, I am now an Airport SysAdmin!  Thing are just taking off for me 🙂

Categories: Uncategorized

Silent Installs

December 20, 2010 Leave a comment

Recently when doing an upgrade from Windows XP to 7 in our shop, I had to install “viewer” software required by GM.  Now GM tried to make it as easy as possible by creating a script on their website that checks for the software and if it isn’t installed will display links for the download and a message along the lines of “your computer needs this, please download it”.  It even has a neat Java based downloader (they must be proud of that).  Sadly, the neat downloader doesn’t run the installer after you download it.  Now I have nothing against car techs but they are the same as any user, “after clicking on the link and the progress bar is gone its installed, right?”

Now using an image based install, generally I would have added this viewer software to the image before sending it out to the PCs, but of course this particular software didn’t like being installed then ghosted AT ALL.  This left me with walking around to each of the PC’s to install the 3 software packages manually or script it.  Now any respecting SysAdmin would have chosen for the scripting option and that is exactly what I did.

So first off I created a security group in our “application install” OU and added the user accounts for the technicians.  Next was to create the group policy that would run the install scripts at logon. Now to the scripts!

The first of the “viewer” installs was an msi.  so I opened up run and typed in “msiexec /?” to get the command line listing for msi installs.  After a quick review I wrote the following script

REM Map G Drive for Installs
net use g: \\\netlogon\gm_viewers

REM Install Metaweb
if exist “C:\Program Files\Ematek\MetaWeb\MetaWebU.ocx” goto end
xcopy /E /C /Y /I g:\metaweb.msi c:\metaweb.msi
msiexec /i “c:\metaweb.msi” /quiet /passive /norestart

REM Remove G drive
net use g: /d /y

net use g: /d /y

So to break down the script.  First thing I did was map the install drive to an unused letter.  Next was the “if exist” line of code to check if the program was already installed.  If it was the script goes to the :end marker and disconnects the network drive.  If it is not there it will run the msiexec /i script with the /quiet /passive /norestart switches.  If you want a description of these switches just run msiexec /? in run or command line.
The second installer came down as a self extracting zip file, so I uncompressed the files and it was also a MSI, just a quick change to the first script and I was 2/3 on my way to finishing.

The third installer was to be a bit more problematic.  There was no MSI install, but instead a InstallSheild installer.  I tried a /s and /silent switch with setup.exe to no avail.  So off to Google I went and found a few articles about silent installing InstallSheild software.  Seems that /s was the right switch, but the software required an answer file.  Luckily there was a handy /r switch that will create an answer file when you run the program.  The answer file is stored in c:\windows\setup.iss.  All I had to do was copy the setup.iss file to the installation directory and run my script with the /s switch.  Below is the script.

REM Map G Drive for Installs
net use g: \\\netlogon\gm_viewers

REM Install Tiff Viewer
if exist “C:\Program Files\GM\TIFF Viewer Plugin\NPIMGVIE.dll” goto end
xcopy /E /C /Y /I g:\tiffview c:\tiffview
c:\tiffview\setup.exe /s

REM Remove G drive
net use g: /d /y

net use g: /d /y

Categories: Uncategorized

Server 2008 Printer Queue Status Offline

June 3, 2010 22 comments

So I recently had a problem at work with a xerox printer on a different subnet that kept going to the status “offline” in Windows Server 2008 Print Management. Seems the cause of this error is the print driver using SNMP to communicate with the printer and not getting a response. Here is a quick and easy fix to get your printer back up and running

1) Right click on your printer and click properties
2) Go to the Ports Tab
3) Click on “Configure Port…”
4) Un-check “SNMP Status Enabled”

Then just click OK until you re back to the printer management window and VOILA! Your printer can now print again!

Google has a Store?!?!

July 24, 2009 Leave a comment


I probably missed the boat on this Long Ago, but today I found a Google Store .  I figured a few pens and shirts, but in good ol’ Google style they seem to have a little bit of everything.  Some examples include a Google Slinky, Google Jenga, Google Rubik’s Cube, Google Baby Blanket (Gotta love that 256 bit security blanket for Baby!).  Just another way that Google has taken over the world!

Categories: Uncategorized

Digital Signage – Slideshow Edition

July 24, 2009 Leave a comment

WheelRecently we purchased a 42″ plasma and a eee Box desktop PC to use as digital signage.  While waiting for our carpenters to mount the TV we decided to use it to display a slideshow for our Annual Antique Car Show.  Instead or re-inventing the wheel I loaded the pictures to the PC and used windows photo viewer to run a slideshow.  This worked so well that one of our branch stores decided they wanted the same setup at their car show.  Now, I wanted to make setup as easy as possiable.  I wasnt looking forward to driving out to set it up, so I needed a way for the PC to automatically start the slideshow when it booted into Windows.  Keeping in line with my “Don’t re-invent teh wheel” philosophy, I again used a built in feature in Windows.  I set up the Slideshow screensaver in XP to run 1 minute after booting and load the car show pictures.  And seeing how it was going to be a headless setup there was no reason for the screensaver to stop.

So todays lesson for all is dont try to overcomplicate something, If you have the tools available use them.

Categories: Uncategorized

OEM prices from HP

July 23, 2009 Leave a comment

hp keyboardSeems to be common place for the flaps on the back of the keyboards here break off after a couple years.  I was pricing up a few new keyboards and decided to check out what the price of the OEM keyboard that came from HP would cost.  Being that the keyboard is nothing fancy and has no quick launch buttons, I would have figured half cheap.  To my surprise these cheap looking keyboards which probably cost $3 to make will cost $49 from HP!  Well I cant really say surprise as I also priced a replacement motherboard for a laptop and they were looking for $1000.  I still love HP products, but I think they have to re-think their pricing models.

Categories: Uncategorized

If cars were like computers, who would be GM?

July 10, 2009 Leave a comment

While searching the ol interwebs, I came across this humorous article.  Where better to re-post it, but on this blog!

Link for the full post

Here’s a quick rundown on how I would compare some of the top computer companies to car companies:

  • Acer = Hyundai – Hyundai started off importing inexpensive cars of relatively low quality, but over time improved their cars and started increasing market share to become a significant player in the market. Acer has largely done the same.
  • Apple = Volvo – Volvo is a premium niche brand that has a loyal following. Customers of both companies feel that their chosen product is the best and offers superior safety and protection compared to the competition.
  • Dell = Ford – Ford is the maker of the common run-of-the-mill car. They’re the second-largest U.S. car company. Like Dell, Ford makes large quantities of not overly exciting machines with a reputation of questionable quality. Ford also has a performance sub-brand called the Mustang, which would be the equivalent to Dell’s AlienWare brand.
  • Gateway = Chrysler – Gateway was the third major U.S. computer company for a long time and was much smaller and more focused on a certain market segment than the other majors. Like Chrysler, it ran into financial problems and had to merge with another company (even though Chrysler is now independent). Like Chrysler, Gateway used fancy packaging (cow boxes) to hide products of questionable quality.
  • HP = GM (1930s) – GM of the 1930s didn’t dominate the industry the way they did in the 50s and 60s and didn’t have the financial problems of today. It did, however, scarf up a lot of competitors, was a significant leader in the industry, and put itself in the position to dominate in the future. HP has done the same thing in recent years.
  • Lenovo = Toyota – Toyota’s the up-and-coming import brand that is the standard for car quality and innovation in the market. It’s quickly growing to become the world leader in cars, but as it’s grown, traditional quality has become an issue.
  • Toshiba = Subaru – Subaru has long been a small car company that’s struggled in the marketplace in general and has been unable to escape the small four-wheel-drive car market. Likewise Toshiba’s been basically trapped as a laptop vendor in this country.
Categories: Uncategorized

Ewww Drive Mold

July 9, 2009 Leave a comment

mouldy drive

Amazing that mold can grow on a laptop CD rom drive.  Guess you shouldnt underestimate what a car technician can do to a laptop!

I’m Back!

March 30, 2009 1 comment

After a hectic few months, Im back to the blog!  I have kinda letit slide a bit, but im hopeing to do at least a post every couple of days.

Categories: Uncategorized

Hello world!

March 20, 2008 Leave a comment

As the title states, I am officially entering the blogging world. I hope to fill a niche in the wide world of tech blogs.  This blog is mainly going to be tips I pick up during my daily sys admin duties at a car dealership.  There are some interesting things that pop up in a dealership, and very little of it is based in car sales.

Here’s hoping this goes somewhere!

Categories: Uncategorized