Author: admin

XML Tags Showing up in Outlook Signature

Has anyone ever come across the issue with Microsoft outlook and the pink XML tags showing in their signature? I recently came across this and really could not find an easy way to turn them off. I don’t know if it was a shortcut key that prompted these tags to come up but it was somewhat a nuisance.

So what did I do? I tried looking through the settings, checking, and unchecking certain settings to see if it would make a difference, but nothing seemed to fix it. I even tried multiple key combinations in my own outlook to recreate the issue. No luck! Furthermore, I kept trying until I thought, why don’t I just recreate the signature?

So that is what I did. I deleted the old signatures, created brand new ones, and then there were no more  pink xml tags in my signature! I just wish there was some kind of switch or button to turn these off, as I see many people searching for this issue on the internet with no solutions.

I guess it is like I said before, just recreate the signature!


MS Project 2010 compatibility issue with older versions

I recently received a request from a user where they were having issues opening a Microsoft Project file and I thought I would share my findings. It’s not that it is so much a complex or difficult issue as it is a frustrating one, and shows you how sometimes people get a sour taste in their mouth about Microsoft.

The issue started when the user received a MS project file and tried opening it with MS Project 2007 which we have installed on our terminal servers. Project threw an error saying that this file was created in a new version and that we could download the converter in order to make it work. Well here is where the issue comes in. When we went to the link with the recommended fix, it took us to a site where we could download MS Project 2003 SP3 which contains a converter tool. I thought really?? Why would I install a service pack for an older version that does not even exist on my system?

Apparently the only converter tool available for Project 2007 is to open and convert Project 2003 files, which is rather annoying because you would think a compatibility patch or something would have been released when Project 2010 was. Probably asking too much right?

The funny part of the whole situation is the actual solution Microsoft proposes on the Project 2010 website (see below).

Now wouldn’t it just be easier to ask the sender to save it as an older version?

LogMeIn Rescue and iPads – Is LogMeIn a Viable Solution – How LogMeIn Works With iPads and Mail | BVA IT Consulting Blog

If you haven’t seen this yet, please note – LogMeIn Rescue makes it easy to push out mail profiles to iPads.  Have the user go to http://rescuemobile.com in Safari on the iPad and enter the PIN code as usual.  You can then fill in the POP/IMAP/ActiveSync info and push it to the iPad as a profile.  The user is prompted to allow the config change, and then to accept the certificate.  Works great and BVA certainly recommends it as a viable solution.

Top Reasons Why Internet Explorer 9 Will Remain The Most Used Browser – Is Microsoft Internet Explorer The Most Used Browser – Why IE 9 Is Better For The Enterprise | BVA IT Consulting Blog

It is still left to be determined but so far so good. BVA has seen a few problems with integration with third party custom applications as well as add-ins but for the most part this new browser is pretty good.  We have it in production with over 15 clients across different market segments and feel confident in the product.  What’s funny is that Microsoft’s Internet Explorer doesn’t get much love in the advanced IT Solutions industry. A lot of people complain and fault it for its security problems. They say it doesn’t work as well as competing browsers.  With the release of Internet Explorer 9, it’s becoming clearer that the chances of competing browsers like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox beating Microsoft’s latest browser anytime soon seem unrealistic and most likely not going to happen.  Internet Explorer 9 might be in its infancy, but this new browser edition ensures companies will stick with Microsoft. Here’s some documented reasons:

1. It’s much faster

Internet Explorer 8 and other previous versions of the software loaded Web pages very slowly. In fact, Google’s Chrome browser easily bested Internet Explorer in speed tests. But Internet Explorer 9 is quite fast, thanks to Microsoft’s decision to utilize the computer’s graphics processor. The result is a browser that for most companies will deliver the speed needed.

2. It’s taking aim at Chrome

Speaking of speed, it’s clear that Internet Explorer 9 is taking aim at Google Chrome. The browser has taken on a cleaner, Chrome-like look, making it easier to navigate. Plus, it has ditched the search box, in favor of a single box that allows users to input a Website’s address or search for content. And by improving Internet Explorer 9’s speed, it seems clearer than ever that Microsoft views Google as its top competitor in the browser market.

3. Security hasn’t mattered in the past

Internet Explorer 6, for example, is widely considered one of the most insecure browsers ever released. But as those security problems persisted, companies continued to stick with Internet Explorer. So, while security is commonly a reason Internet Explorer critics give to try to persuade companies to switch from Microsoft’s browser, it would seem that most companies haven’t cared in the past. And if Internet Explorer 9 still suffers from security problems, it’s unlikely that many companies will switch.

4. It’s a vastly improved design

Internet Explorer 9 will likely deliver a far better experience to the average employee. Whereas previous versions of the browser were difficult for novice users to perform basic tasks, the new and improved design in Internet Explorer 9 provides power for advanced users and simplicity for novices. That alone should make Internet Explorer 9 a fine choice for companies looking to improve their browser productivity.

5. Solutions still rely on it

As more Web-based solutions make their way to the enterprise, Internet Explorer becomes even more important. In fact, several products currently in use by companies rely upon Internet Explorer to work. That alone makes Internet Explorer relevant. And it will likely ensure that Internet Explorer 9 will be the browser of choice for companies going forward.

6. The competition can’t cut it

Google’s Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are outstanding browsers. For consumers, they are arguably a better option than anything Microsoft puts out. But the corporate world is a different space. And for most enterprise customers, Chrome and Firefox can’t match Internet Explorer 9 in compatibility with enterprise applications, especially custom corporate applications. They don’t deliver the same experience.

7. The download manager is vastly improved

Microsoft made a major update to its download manager in Internet Explorer 9. When a user attempts to download something from the Web, a new “reputation” feature kicks in. It evaluates the source of the download, and if it doesn’t have a solid reputation, the warnings related to the download are made abundantly clear.  It’s not a guaranteed security safeguard, but it should go a long way in making IT Managers feel more comfortable giving employees access to the browser.

8. It’s an extension of Windows 7

Although Internet Explorer 9 won’t work with Windows XP, it’s a vastly improved extension of Windows 7. In fact, users can “pin” sites to their taskbar, giving them easy access to pages in the future. Those pinned items also boast added functionality in some cases. It seems that Microsoft is attempting to make its browser a viable component in Windows’ functionality. That’s a good thing from an employee-productivity perspective.

9. Microsoft’s cloud vision works for now

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has been saying for months that his company views the cloud differently than some other firms. He seems to think that users are going to need a rich client, like Internet Explorer 9, to interact with the cloud, rather than a thin client. Some would disagree, but for now, Microsoft seems correct in that assumption. Internet Explorer 9 will work exceptionally well for a user’s cloud services. It will provide the kind of functionality most companies are looking for related to their cloud endeavors.

10. It’s a familiar experience

In the end, Internet Explorer 9 isn’t so drastically different that users won’t feel at home. In fact, the browser provides a familiar experience that most enterprise employees would feel comfortable with and that’s a good thing. It should help Internet Explorer 9 enjoy the kind of success that Microsoft hopes it will achieve.

Can You Print Wirelessly From an iPad – Process for Printing Wirelessly Using an iPad – Hewlett-Packard Printer Integration With iPad | BVA IT Consulting Blog

Apple announced that the company is releasing the beta version of its AirPrint wireless printing for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, a key component of Apple’s iOS 4.2 software update, illustrates the extent to which the ability to print wirelessly is being taken by hardware and software developers alike. Although Apple’s products don’t find their way into the offices of small to medium size businesses nearly as often as brands such as HP, Dell and countless others, the capability to print wirelessly, particularly from your mobile device, is becoming of greater importance.  Apple announced Hewlett-Packard printers would be the first to support AirPrint with compatible devices to include HP Photosmart, Officejet Pro and LaserJet Pro series ePrint-enabled printers. However, HP offers its own line of printers offering Bluetooth wireless technology, and many more HP printers can be upgraded to support Bluetooth with the purchase of the HP bt500 Bluetooth Adapter. HP notes on its mobile printing Website that while many phones no longer require any further steps, some phones require users to pair their devices prior to printing for the first time.

 

Microsoft Lync Review – Analysis of Microsoft Lync – Is Microsoft Lync Viable | BVA IT Consulting Blog

BVA has reviewed and looked at the new Microsoft Lync.  The new name for the next generation of our real-time communications products, known until today as Communications Server and Communicator. Over the last five years Microsoft has been on a journey to transform communications with the power of software.  Lync delivers on this vision by unifying enterprise voice, instant messaging and web, audio and video conferencing into a new, connected communications experience.  A key part of the release is the re-branding to Microsoft Lync.  Lync, a combination of “link” and “sync”, is about connecting people in new ways anytime, anywhere.  Beyond simplifying and shortening the current branding, customer research found that the name Lync appeals to end users and IT pros, even more than descriptive options like Communicator. This could seriously be an alternative to an on-site VOIP phone system via reliability, feature set, integration with Microsoft technologies, as well as cost.

The feedback on Lync 2010 has been pretty good from initial testers.  Here is a sample of the types of comments that Microsoft got from the TAP programs and internal beta:

  • “Just love, love, love the new UI.”
  • “An incredibly comprehensive set of tools, including integration into workflow with SharePoint”
  • “Everything I’ve tried to do, I’ve been successful so far.”
  • “[OCS 14] looks more user-friendly and visually it’s like, ‘wow’. It looks better and aesthetics are a lot better, especially when you are using an application nine hours a day.”
  • “The overall user experience is more engaging, convenient, and social-oriented, when compared to 2007 or 2007 R2. Thank you! :-)”

I’ve been using Lync – and as my only ‘phone’ – for the past month and the experience has been pretty solid.  A few of my favorite features:
1.       Switch between your head-set and phone in the middle of a call with device switching.
2.       Gotta run? Leave the office and take your call with you on your mobile phone.
3.       Select multiple people and click to make a group call, and then drag-and-drop someone into the conference from Outlook.
4.       Connect with family while you’re travelling – start a high-definition voice and video conversation with a Windows Live Messenger user.
5.       Hush that annoying meeting participant.   When someone is causing bad audio on the conference call, Lync will identify which phone to mute to improve quality – and productivity.

Something to consider moving forward when looking at different communication methods.  Is VOIP the way to go?

Data Storage For Small To Medium Sized Businesses – Data Solutions That Meet Compliance Standards – ProStor InfiniVault Storage System Breakdown and Review | BVA IT Consulting Blog

In working with a few different architectural firms and medical agencies, BVA has learned of several types of backup solutions that lean toward hitting compliance standards.  Being able to store large amounts of data for a specific period of time is crucial.  We have found that tape is a great solution but the problem that we see is the restore time in case something took place.  Even with an LTO4, the restore time would be quite substantial which could be very painful when we are talking about a terabyte of data.  In looking around for different solution we found a DISK based solution, GB, that really shortens the gap of restoring.  The product is called ProStor InfiniVault and is an array full of disks that are removable which is great.

ProStor InfiniVault is a storage system designed to balance the need to cost-effectively manage increasing amounts of information over extended periods of time. This is the storage solution for terabyte-years.  You can restore data fast with reliable retrieval of information from a choice of local online, removable offline or replicated locations.  The backup system comes fully equipped with what technology consulting companies and administrators need to manage their data for the long-term. There is no extra cost for software features and RDX disk drives can be added when storage needs grow, without having to purchase expensive disk management tools or new system infrastructure.  Data is organized into vaults allowing fast access through a standard NAS interface. The system automatically manages data retention, compression, encryption, and single-instancing de-duplication. It also maintains data integrity for the user so that data is available for years to come.

The intelligent software engine automatically protects itself – there is no need to back it up. The software stores multiple copies of each file to RDX removable disk cartridges, allowing near-line and offline data protection with removability for seamless integration into current workflows. The software provides several features that allow organizations to comply with the rules and regulations that govern their business, such as:

  • Hardware-enforced WORM for immutability
  • Audit trail with chain-of-custody reporting
  • File indexing for search and rapid file retrieval (eDiscovery)
  • Data retention and automatic deletion
  • Automatic copies
  • Legal hold enforcement
  • Data encryption and key management

The backup software has a web-based management console and provides a simple interface for configuration and management.  The disks used to store the data is called RDX.   Over 130 Petabytes of data can be stored on RDX disks today, RDX is the market leader in removable storage. Organizations can trust that the technology is here to stay.  RDX has such world-wide acceptance because of its cost-savings benefits such as:

  • RDX uses less energy: RDX disks are powered down when not in use, thus reducing power and cooling costs.
  • RDX disks are cost-effective: Capacities can be intermixed, and the interface will remain compatible well into the future. Organizations can purchase the latest capacity cartridge at the current best market price.
  • RDX is built to last: Each RDX cartridge has a 30-year shelf life, along with protection against drops and static electricity.

Models and Hardware Specs:

Online Backup Case Study – Tomahawk Automated Offsite Backup Test Results – Step by Step Guide for Testing Tomahawk Automated Offsite Backup | BVA IT Consulting Blog

Here at BVA we were recently going through the process of trying to find a suitable online backup solution that would fulfill all of our business needs. Specifically the ability to do bare metal restores, system state backups, and brick level mailbox restores using an online utility. The solution I have decided to test is Tomahawk Automated Offsite Backup which does offer all of these features. Tomahawk also offers “Seed Copy Assistance,” which for backup sets over 40GB they will send you a USB drive, you do a local backup using their software, and then send it back to them.  NOTE: The online utility does not actually do the bare metal restores or system state restores itself, it utilizes functions already built into the Windows OS to complete the tasks.

Some of the other features that I am going to be testing are the exchange brick level restores, 2003 system state backups, 2008 bare metal restore, and the Shadow Protect restore option that they have available with their service.

I will be updating this blog continuously as I step through the testing process.

Configuring the Droid X to work with Microsoft Exchange Online

By this time, many people have had the opportunity to get their hands on the new  Droid X by Motorola, and explore the vast amount of features on this incredibly powerful device. From social networking to games, applications, and mobile content this device is a definate must have.

I recently had the task assigned to me to figure out how exactly to configure the Droid X to be used with the Microsoft online hosted exchange, and to my surprise, it was just as easy as configuring it to work with an in-house exchange server but with a very slight variation.

Backup Solution To Replace Tapes – What Is The Best Option for Data Backup – Backup and Business Continuance Solution for Small to Medium Sized Businesses | BVA IT Consulting Blog

Business Continuance and Disaster Recovery

BVA’s ability to offer a complete custom service solution for its clients is what sets us apart.  We recognize  that every business is unique and can benefit from a tailored advanced IT solution.
This offering provides a tailored, State-of-the-Art, “Backup and Business Continuance Solution” for Small to Medium sized businesses, and provides services that were previously only available to large corporations.
The functionality of BVA’s Total Business Continuance Solution provides faster data restoration than tape, offers “Virtualized” fileservers to provide full functionality in the event of a production fileserver failure, enables individual mailbox and message restoration, provides “bare-metal” restoration for new or replacement fileservers, and protects business continuance with full off-site data storage.   This solution completely eliminates the need for tape(s) as a backup media.
Fully automated and securely monitored for quality assurance, this offering meets all the Backup and Business Continuance needs of businesses today.