HTTP Redirect

For refererence, as we keep needing to do this and forgetting how… here’s the “HTML” for a client-side page redirect (change all the square brackets to angle brackets, of course): [meta http-equiv="refresh" content="seconds;url=url"] in the [head] section. Sample:


[title]Jumping to new page[/title]
[meta http-equiv="refresh" content="2;url="]

Backup Early, Backup Often

Jonny started searching and realized that he already has a backup program for Windows XP. Now, he asks, what are all these options and what should I do with them?

Windows XP's Backup program, Backup Type options

Backing up your data files is important, and for some people so is saving space. The backup program here is giving you the option to do both. What Microsoft’s calling a normal backup here is more often referred to by computer professionals as a full backup – it’s going to copy everything. It’s also going to mark those files as having been backed up. That mark is important, and is cleared any time that a file is changed. That way, if you want to save space on your next backup, you can choose incremental. An incremental backup only copies the files that have been changed.

A standard strategy for backup, then, is to perform a full backup once each month and an incremental each week, onto different media. That way, if you need to restore, you start with the full back and then add on each of the remaining weeks. Of course, you’d be best served by having two complete sets of media and alternating them: Month1 full, Month1 Week2 incremental, Month1 Week3 incremental, Month1 Week4 incremental, then Month2 full, Month2 Week2 incremental, Month2 Week3 incremental, Month2 Week4 incremental. Then start the cycle all over again. That way you’ve always got a complete set, though perhaps a little old, in the drawer. And if you’re especially careful, the drawer is in a different location just in case.

Backup gives you two other options as well, not used by as many people but good for the making extra copies. A copy backs up everything, but doesn’t mark them as having been backed up. Differential just copies the changed files, as incremental does, but doesn’t mark them.

So, XP users, you’ve got a backup program and it gives you plenty of options. Now it’s up to you to keep your data safe. Next week we’ll talk about what data you’ll want not to forget.

Corporate Culture-Shifting

Back on the seventh, I asked if sharing is natural, and pondered if perhaps some of us have been trying too hard to take the direct approach, holding classes and running reports while “implementing” a new “methodology.”

This past weekend, sitting around the campfire watching our Scouts cook their dinners, I had the opportunity to chat with Ed, a friend who’s business is corporate education. “Is it possible,” I asked him, “to change a culture through training?” The short answer was yes, though it takes time – his estimate is 3-5 years. Also, he said, success depends greatly on two things: the target audience and real management support.

My friend’s first answer spoke right at the heart of my earlier post: “You can be most successful if you find the right people to train first.” In other words, if you can find the early adopters, the people who find change easy to make and even welcome it. Bonus points if those people are also influencers or connectors. He admitted that the other tack, training everyone and hoping that propoents will outweigh naysayers can work, but success isn’t anywhere near as likely.

Ed then turned to another familiar topic, management support. His anecdote came from years ago when he’d been asked by AT&T to change the workflow patterns of their “pole-climbers” – the guys who came out to fix a wiring problem. Where they had just been fixing technical problems and moving on, their management now wanted them to help put a friendly face to the company. When they finished with the repairs, they were then to clean their hands and find the homeowner who had reported the problem. Smile, thank them for being a good customer and reporting the issue, explain that the problem was solved and “have a nice day ma’am.” Great idea, right?

Oh, and at the same time guys, we need you to improve your “time to resolution” – you’ve been averaging three problems fixed each day; now we need you to do five.

Three guesses what the repairmen’s reaction to that was, and, as my mother used to say, the first two don’t count. In the long run, neither did the company’s desire for army of happy-faced repairmen. The managers, intent on “making the numbers”, drove any thought of quality or customer satisfaction right out of the process.

Scripting the Guts of Windows

MSDN’s WMI Scripting Primer: “Microsoft® Windows® Management Instrumentation (WMI) is Microsoft’s best-kept secret, or so we’ve been told. Be that as it may, make no mistake; WMI is Microsoft’s primary management enabling technology for Windows.” Via WSH you can use VBScript or other scripting languages – including Perl – to get to many of the internal workings of your Windows systems.

Guitar TAB: Steve McQueen

Steve McQueen, from Sheryl Crow‘s album C’mon, C’mon (track #1)

Drop the A string down to G


Chords throughout song
Arpegio chords between "Main"        G   F   C
e----------------3------------------ e---3---1---8-----------------
B-------1--------------------------- B---3---1---5-----------------
G-----0--------0-------------------- G---0---2---5-----------------
D---2--------3---------------------- D---0---3---5-----------------
G----------------------------------- G---0-------5-----------------
E----------------------------------- E---3-------5-----------------

For personal, educational use only of course.

Is Knowledge Sharing Natural?

“The most direct approach isn’t always the best.” So says the Chinese-cookie fortune that I’ve got taped to my display. It jumps out at me this morning as I browse the weblogs of two gentlemen for whom information flow is a normal course of nature.

…as I entered the business world, it simply made no sense to me that computers were being used solely for computing and “data processing”; the collaborative online work environment that I’d taken for granted, that I’d used day in and day out, was simply missing in action. Our work lives are all about interpersonal connections, our businesses processes are structured into connections amongst people and systems that must be coordinated. What better use of technology than to help people to connect?” [Ray Ozzie] Ya see, Ray’s one who “gets it” when the topic turns to sharing information. He sees blogs, Groove and other tools as enabling individuals, allowing them to working together. As such, he doesn’t see a need for defined process changes to take advantage of all this wonderful stuff, it should just come naturally.

We’ve got our set of sharing technologies here, being added to an long-existing workflow. Given the entrenchment of “the old way” of doing things and the day-to-day pressure of metric-driven managers, “what comes natural” for many people is “what we’ve always done.” As Jon Udell puts it, “you can’t swim upstream against what people naturally want to do.” Jon sees more and more people discovering the wonderful world of sharing – and perhaps that’s what it needs to be, discovered instead of having it forced upon them. Maybe some of us have been trying too hard to take the direct approach, holding classes and running reports while “implementing” a new “methodology.”

Have you had more success with “formal” methods of rolling out a set of KM practices and technologies or by simply showing those who appear eager and letting them evangelize it as they go along?

MS Word Locks Up, Errors

Two similar and related errors to talk about today:

Microsoft Word has encountered a problem and needs to close.


Microsoft Word has generated errors and will be closed by Windows. You will need to restart the program.

These are related in that they both are often caused by a corrupted file – a file that’s used every time you start Word but that many of us don’t even know exists: is a template, used each time that Word starts a new document. If you or your organization have a standard set of fonts, styles, etc. that you want to use for every document, you can use to define these; many companies have a standard file that they put on every system so that their documents have a consistent look.

Unfortunately, such an oft-used file is susceptible to corruption if the program is interrupted or being attacked by a virus. Thankfully, it’s easily replaced. Use Windows’ file search (Start->Search on Windows XP or NT Workstation, I think it was Start->Find on 95/98/Me) to find, then rename the it. Then launch Word and close it again – Word should have created a new, empty, file. If it did, you can then go back and delete the corrupted one.

What time is it?

PC clocks are notorious for being wrong; the hardware clocks drift, software clocks get interrupted when they shouldn’t, maybe the moon’s just in the wrong phase, who knows. A few seconds here or there shouldn’t hurt too badly, but they build up and get to bug people. There have long been time servers “out there” and the Network Time Protocol (NTP) has served well. Most PC users, though, haven’t heard of it or haven’t installed software to use it (I’ve used Tardis for years – recommended for folks who haven’t yet made the move to XP).

Windows XP has added it’s own synchronization bits – find the clock in your taskbar and double-click on it. You should have the normal Date & Time and Time Zone tabs, but now there’s a third Internet Time tab as well ~ or there may not be. According to XP’s own help: “If your computer is a member of a domain, your computer clock is probably synchronized automatically by a network time server. If your computer is not a member of a domain, you can synchronize your computer clock with an Internet time server.” Though the help says “probably”, TechNet article Q289689 uses a bit stronger language: “The Internet Time feature is only available in workgroup environments.

If you’re part of a domain, then, you won’t see a third tab – you’re expected to get your time sync’d from your domain server. That’s a good thing; then only the domain controller(s) need to bother the “master” time servers. If your system admin doesn’t have this already happening automatically, you can use Start->Run net time /set /yes to sync manually (or use Start->Run cmd then enter the same command to read any messages or errors).

For everyone else, back to that third tab. Just make sure the “automatically synchronize” box is checked and pick a server (it really doesn’t matter which; they’re all sync’d with each other). Click the “update now” button. You may have trouble if the date on your computer’s wrong, or if you’ve got a firewall, or of course if your system’s not connected to the Internet, but otherwise your clock should be reset. And every week it’ll happen again.

Network Administrators – see also What Time Is It, Redux for NTP Server on Windows 2000 or 2003.

Review from Virtual Ireland

Backup information on Robert Brennan, copied without permission for archival purposes only, from
Virtual Ireland.

IRELAND STANDING FIRM & EAMON DE VALERA, A Memoir by Robert Brennan (1881-1964)

Two memoirs written in the late 1950s by Robert Brennan, a republican activist in the early years of the twentieth century, journalist and close associate of Eamon de Valera.Ireland Standing Firm is a frank and pungent account of Robert Brennan’s time as Irish Minister (in effect Irish Ambassador) in Washington immediately before and during the Second World War. Brennan gives a fascinating account of his efforts in defending Irish neutrality and his meetings with leading American officials and politicians, including Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In the second memoir, Eamon de Valera, Brennan describes his close association with Eamon de Valera from their first meeting in prison in 1917 until de Valera’s retirement as Taoiseach in 1959.

Brennan is an entertaining writer and these memoirs were originally written for publication in the Irish Press newspaper in the 1950s.

THE AUTHOR Robert Brennan (1881-1964) was born in Wexford and worked as a surveyor, journalist and writer before joining Sinn Féin. He was the first Managing Editor of the Irish Press newspaper and was appointed by de Valera as Secretary of the Irish Legation and later Minister in Washington (1934-47). After his return from Washington he was Director of Radio Éireann.

Review from Emigrant Online

Backup information on Robert Brennan, copied without permission for archival purposes only, from Emigrant Online

Ireland Standing Firm & Eamon De Valera: A Memoir

By Robert Brennan

These two works are taken from articles published in the late 1950s
in the Irish Press and give a fascinating insight into 20th century
politics in Ireland from a man who was always close to the centre.
“Ireland Standing Firm” deals with Robert Brennan’s years as Irish
Minister in Washington, a period which coincided with the Second
World War. Brennan’s reminiscences focus on the efforts required to
maintain Ireland’s neutrality in the face of enormous pressure from
both Britain and the United States. The second section, the memoir
of Eamon de Valera, is written from the viewpoint of one who had been
close to the leader since 1916 and who obviously held him in high
esteem. He follows de Valera’s career through to 1958 and highlights
his speech to the League of Nations in 1932, going so far as to claim
that, had he been listened to, the world might have been spared the
horror of World War II. In giving a number of examples of Dev’s
integrity and honesty the author lays the basis for his final
summation, that de Valera was “the greatest political genius –
perhaps the greatest statesman – which our country has ever

Reviewed by Pauline Ferrie

ISBN: 1-900621-68-1
Price: € 18.00
Pages: 182
Publisher: UCD Press
Date reviewed: 2002/02