Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Miro: an intuitive application for your home media center

I personally use Boxee on my Mac Mini but I am always open to new things. Watching CNET Live yesterday, I heard Tom Merrit talk about Miro 2. I was curious to see what this application does and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it's a podcast aggregation/media center for your computer. It works just like Boxee sans the social networking aspect. It lacks the GUI aesthetics of Boxee but it gains in functionality. First, it has a Windows client already. Second, you don't need to sign up for private alpha to run this software. Subscribing is as easy as clicking the subscribe button. Quality is amazing and it's a wonderful feeling that this amazing app is open source. I'm surprised I've never heard of it. I haven't played with it to give you a much better overview of it but I highly recommend this to anyone who didn't sign up for Boxee yet. You may search Youtube and Hulu videos straight from the interface that resembles iTunes but it runs so much more efficient I must say. It is blindingly fast. When searching Youtube, Miro will grab the HD version of a video, if available. The best way to find out what else it has is to try it. Big thumbs up!

Miro

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Discover your hidden SQL Servers with SQLPing

I use SQLPing to do discovery of any hidden SQL Servers on the network. It is a great tool that's easy to use and is absolutely free. I usually run this tool to get an idea of version level for each SQL Server. The tool gives information on blank SA password, version level, instance name, name of service accounts. Pretty much anything you'd like to know about a server at hand. I find myself using this tool a lot in order to revise my best practices for SQL Server Installations. It is also good to devise SLAs between IT Department and your distributed business departments. More on this later. I highly recommend this tool to anyone with at least some curiosity for SQL.

until next time...

First Steps to take when SQL Hotfixes and Service Packs fail...

I do a lot of hot fixes and service packs installations in my environment and needless to say that some do not go well. Usually failures occur on clustered servers. A good rule of thumb is to check whether previous service packs are installed correctly. This rule applies mostly to clustered servers but sometimes it works with single machines as well. On clusters, I would pull up Add or Remove Software panel on both nodes and go through every application installed on both machines. Usually inconsistencies in .Net framework version, SP, hot fix will solve your pains and sorrows. These usually are services failing to start or failed installations of hot fixes. Be sure to check the box for view hot fixes and updates in the Add or Remove Software dialog box and compare any updates as well as general releases. On single machines, view logs for previous installations that can be found in the boot strap folder of MSSQL directory for SQL 2005 and 2008 at least. Review and rerun previous service packs to apply to any components that haven't been updated. This happens a lot on clustered nodes when cluster-unaware services like SSIS, Reporting Services and Workstation Components are installed. Administrators fail to realize that these components only get installed on primary nodes and DO NOT GET INSTALLED on the passive nodes. A user must install SSIS, Workstation Components, etc. separately on the passive node. Then SP must be applied to the passive node separately AGAIN! This will ensure that same software version levels are maintained throughout the installation. It is a good idea to go back to Add or Remove Software panel and compare again after installation. After all that is done rerun your new update and most likely it will install correctly.

until next time...

New Ubuntu User!

My friend's Windows laptop crashed and he doesn't have a recovery disk. What do I do? Install Ubuntu of course. He needs nothing but Firefox so he's good to go. Let's see if he continues to use it.