Proactive Information Exchange – A new term I have coined…

Communicate early and communicate often… In the current environment that we live in where we barely have time to stop and smell the roses this is an often forgotten vital point… Last night I was pondering this and came up with the concept of PIE, a.k.a. Proactive Information Exchange. It appears there are a few Google hits for it however I simply plucked it out of my brain last night and realised it is kind of a motto that I live by in my working life.

The concept of PIE or proactive information exchange is relatively simple. As I recently put it on a twitter status update:

... #PIE AKA #ProactiveInformationExchange to share knowledge to prevent #ShitHittingFans

So when you are working consider practicing the concept of PIE it really helps foster effective, and most importantly, early communication. Share your knowledge early in the hope that it can prevent someone running into issues you have faced in the past.

OOH and a massive thanks also go to @Rubenerd and his recent blog post for putting the word out.

/grabs a slice of PIE
Stuart

Locked yourself out of Terminal Services? Give this a whirl!

One issue I have run into time and time again at work is when either myself or colleagues leave themselves logged into Terminal Services (using Remote Desktop Protocol or RDP for short) on a server and therefore lock out anyone but themselves from logging back ON to the server. Obviously this is targeted at servers running on the Wintel architecture.

This issue cropped up for me again and I was struggling to find a way to kick the other terminal services connections or terminate them or (well LOL I had a few other thoughts that were kinda graphic but hey we are trying to be professional here). Luckily a colleague was able to assist me and gave me this gem which I was unable to find elsewhere on the net (probably from a lack of the correct keywords).

If you need to force access to the console session for a host running Microsoft Windows Server 2003, MS Windows Server 2008 or probably a host of other Windows server and desktop hosts, give this little command line switch a try.

On the run command prompt of the computer you are connecting from (the guest) instead of running plain old ‘mstsc’ instead run ‘mstsc /v:hostname.yourdomain.com -console /admin’.

I have no idea why (and will try to do some research later unless someone else can shed light on this) the straight up ‘-console’ switch did not work as a lot of people on the net said it would, without the ‘/admin’ switch I just kept getting the error “Terminal Services had reached the maximum number of licences” and so on.

So… I hope this helps you out next time pesky wabbits leave themselves logged onto your servers and stop you from logging on to RDP.

Stuart

Intel network interface on Dell notebook dropping out

Man Cradling his Head in his hands frustrated with his computerIf you are suffering from an issue that causes your network connection to drop out when your computer idles then you have come to the right place.I have been using Dell notebooks for many years, and one little trick that I picked up quite some time back relates to the drivers for network cards on Dell Laptops.

Most commonly I have found this issue with the Intel 82567LM Gigabit Ethernet adapter however it is entirely possible that it affects other models too.

What Causes It:

This behaviour is actually a “feature” of the driver and is designed to drop it from 1 gigabit to 100 megabit mode which in turn saves power (on the assumption that you do not need 1Gbps of throughput while you aren’t physically at the machine). I have only ever experienced this with the Intel Gigabit cards (Intel 82567LM) but it may happen with others as well.

How to stop it from happening:

You will need to get a new driver directly from the manufacturer. As I mentioned I have only ever experienced it with the Intel ethernet interface so if you pop over to the Intel Download Center you can grab the drivers from there (if you are having problems specifically with the Intel 82567LM click here to get the latest drivers).

When you have installed the new driver go into the Device Manager and select the network card. Open up the properties panel and select the Power Management Tab, then uncheck the “Reduce Speed during System Idle” checkbox and you should be sweet.

Why you have to get a new driver:

Dell in their infinite wisdom decided that with all the network interface drivers they put out they will automatically enable the above setting and REMOVE the ability for you to change it. Therefore in order to gain the functionality to change the setting you have to use the manufacturer driver not the Dell OEM version.

I have been using this little workaround for at LEAST the last five odd years and have yet to have an issue with using teh Manufacturer Driver over the Dell Driver.

Hopefully this will help someone else out when they run into this frustration.

Stuart