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How to make a CAT 5 cable and presentation point

cat5

We rarely have to make our own CAT5 cables, as the amount we use it's cheaper to buy them. However there is the odd occasion, and by then we've forgotten the wiring diagram. So here is a few useful resources for when it has to be done:-

 
 

RunMacRun - Remote Support Package for your Mac

mac aaahh

How to install:- 

  1. Click this link : RunMacRun Support (Version 2.0)
  2. Download the zip file.
  3. Open the zip file by double clicking it and then double click the file extracted called runMACrun.pkg
  4. This will then install the software to easily connect to us here at the office. (All items will be installed in the Applications in a folder called runmacrun)
  5. To launch a connection, double click on the 'runMACrun' program icon. 

 

 

 

Deployment software and driver packs for Windows

Two very interesting things brought to my attention of late.

First we have nLite and vLite , which looks to be very nice Windows deployment/unattended setup tools, compared to the standard Microsoft Unattended setup tool for XP - I've not looked at the Microsoft's own Vista deployment tool yet so I can't comment on how good/bad it is.
As an aside, I have to say that at RunPCRun it is rare to install/reinstall Windows. Installing isn't necessary as we don't produce hardware and it's well known that OEM's pre-install Windows for you. Secondly reinstalling Windows is fairly rare as there is almost always a fix that will bring a dead system back to life. Only in cases such as a total hard drive failure, in which case if it's in the warranty period the manufacturer will replace the drive and then the data is restored from backup. If it's not under warranty then it's usually a good reason to upgrade that old PC rather than spend good money on labour on an old machine.

I have seen reinstalling Windows to be used as a fix for almost any situation by people and comapanies. In my eyes it's a crazy thing to do for no other reason than "I don't know how to fix it"

Secondly we have DriverPacks.net where some very nice person has spent a lot of time amalgamating all the drivers for a particular peripheral together all in one folder. This will be very useful to have on the network or on a USB key (especially the SATA and Network drivers) in order to change those yellow plings/bangs in the Device Manager to nicely installed devices.

Also you could combine nLite and DriverPacks together and you have a very nice Windows installation CD.

Setting Up a Gmail POP Account in Entourage

Setting up your gmail account in Entourage is a two stage process.

  1. Enable POP on your Gmail account
  2. Set up the account in Entourage

How do I enable POP?

You can retrieve your Gmail messages with a client or device that supports POP, like Microsoft Outlook or Netscape Mail.

To enable POP in your Gmail account:

  1. Log in to your Gmail account.
  2. Click Settings at the top of any Gmail page.
  3. Click Forwarding and POP in the orange Mail Settings box.GMail Settings Dialogue
  4. Select Enable POP for all mail or Enable POP for mail that arrives from now on.
  5. Choose the action you'd like your Gmail messages to take after they are accessed with POP.
  6. Configure your POP client* and click Save Changes.

Some of the Free and Open source software I've discovered recently.

open source

  • Scribus - Scribus is an open-source program that brings award-winning professional page layout to desktops with a combination of "press-ready" output and new approaches to page layout.
  • Banshee - Import, organize, play, and share your music using Banshee's simple, powerful interface. Rip CDs, play and sync your iPod, create playlists, and burn audio and MP3 CDs. Most portable music devices are supported. Banshee also has support for podcasting, smart playlists, music recommendations, and much more.
  • BRL-CAD -  The BRL-CAD package is a powerful Constructive Solid Geometry (CSG) solid modeling system with over 20 years development and production use by the U.S. military. BRL-CAD includes an interactive geometry editor, parallel ray-tracing support for rendering and geometric analysis, path-tracing for realistic image synthesis, network distributed framebuffer support, image-processing and signal-processing tools.
  • Seamonkey - Web-browser, advanced e-mail and newsgroup client, IRC chat client, and HTML editing made simple -- all your Internet needs in one application.
  • Sci-craft -  SciCraft is a powerful open source data analysis software with an easy-to-use graphical user interface.
  • KompoZer -   KompoZer is a wysiwyg HTML editor (an Nvu/Composer fork) aimed towards advanced users.
  • GIMPshop - The GIMP (a photoshop-like image manipulation package) reworked to look and feel like Photoshop.

Optiplex 745, TPM and Bitlocker

lock

Installing Vista and Activating TPM with Bitlocker

The Premium version of Vista comes with a new feature called Bitlocker. This encrypts the whole disk partition and offers protection from out of operating system data compromising. For extra security this technology can be enabled with something called TPM, or Trusted Platform Module,  a chip on the motherboard that can securely store and generate encryption keys. Here is how I installed such a set up recently for a security minded client.

Since we are a Dell reseller, I purchased a new Dell OptiPlex 745 desktop which comes with a TPM chip.

TPM & OptiPlex 745

Now, the first issue - To activate BitLocker, the system needs to have it's disk partitions set up in a certain way which the Dell website simply did not offer. The disk needs to have a small unencrpyted boot partition and a large OS partition which will be encrypted.

Rather than worry about how the OS would be delivered, I ordered the PC without an OS and ordered a copy of Vista Ultimate OEM 

Once the PC was unpacked and set up, the first task is to switch the TPM chip on in the system BIOS. This is a two stage process. Once you enter the BIOS, locate the "Security" tab and turn TPM on. There is another setting called "Activation" which must be enabled as well. Save the BIOS and reboot. You should get a warning that the BIOS TPM settings have been modified - this is OK, so select "Modify" and continue. Now, I recommend going back into the BIOS and double checking the TPM chip actually is on as the first time I did, for some reason it wasn't and you will get an error later.

Now reboot with the Vista disk in the DVD drive. Since my harddisk was empty, I was able to create the partitions in the way recommended by Microsoft. A good page to visit and recommended reading for the whole process is the Microsoft technet site  article - Windows BitLocker Drive Encryption Step-by-Step Guide

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