Thursday, July 12, 2007

Blackberry missing modem driver

Blackberry's are wonderful things but can be difficult to install and manage.

Recently I had a new laptop come with Vista that had to be reset to Windows Xp to allign with the tech practices for the company. If that wasent painful enough as I had to go to intel and other part manufacturers for drivers since Sony did not feel it nessesary to post drivers for this computer for anything other then Vista (eventhough the model is the same as previous versions which had XP, if you download another systems drivers the setup exists telling you this isnt the right computer model, silly)

I installed the Blackberry Desktop software and viola, right? Usually the "Standard Modem" shows up and on Sprint you can have it dial #777 and get internet. No such luck this time for soem reason. I go to Control Panel to add a Modem and none of the standard modem types in Windows exists, great.

Blackberry desktop manager requires the Windows Standard Modem drivers. If Windows forgot them you need to reinstall them. Go find an existing Windows XP computer and search for "MDMGEN.INF" copy that to a flash driver and place it in the windows system folder on the troubled computer. Then go to add a modem and chose "have disk" and add a standard modem. Remove the modem and remove BBerry Desktop. Reinstall BBerry desktop and this time the software should find your drivers, install the Standard Modem and life should be happy. Do not forget to change the default speed on that modem in the preferences to the highest so you get the most from your EVDO or other connection. Also, make sure you have a blackberry unlimited data plan of some nature. For Sprint customers if you are already paying the 40/mo for unlimited data you should be ok.

Maximize Outlook and Exchange

One of my biggest issues is when companies spend money on new technology when they have not fully utilized the technology they have purchased. Yes, this includes such run of the mill technology as Windows, Word and Windows Server 2000-2003.

These are fantastic programs with many features that people rarely use but can make your business run better.

For example: Does your business operate in teams on client projects?

Whether your a lawyer or other professional operating in teams of varying types and groups did you know Microsoft Exchange can help you manage the email rat race?

Problem: Teams of attorneys which can change need to track email on clients, the firm needs to have a central storing point for client email which is organized.

Solution: Use exchange groups and distribution lists and public folders to manage email firm wide and ensure proper workflow. Also, use Outlook rules to save on staff time managing the process.

In exchange you can create public folders, this is hopefully not news. You can use these public folders to store client related emails in client named folders. Did you also know that if you create a distribution list (a list which when an email is sent to the list address copies people within your organization you designate) which also copies a public folder. Whoa. So, by entering all active clients with all the attorneys and staff on the case in a distribution list and that clients corresponding folder merely by having people being to type the clients name in the "To" it will send that email to everyone on the case and drop a copy in that clients public folder email directory for later review/search/printing.

Outlook rules can help even further. All client emails are sent to a general inbox. You can tell outlook to check the from on any incoming email and if it is equal to send a copy to bobs external comm public folder.

by taking these few steps the entire email monster for ensuring client related emails get to everyone and get retained for case/malpractice/e-discovery purposes can be accomplished with little to no human intervention.

Make sure you are working with consultants in IT who do not just ask what problems you have with computers but understand your business challenges. Technology only makes sense when its applied to real problems.

Mounting an LCD or Plasma TV

Sorry I have been away. As always projects ramp up and down which leaves me with more or less time to think.

I will be back and recommitted to share what I have been up to lately.

I have plenty of business improvement posts coming but I wanted to take the time to share my trials with getting my home new Toshiba Regza 42in TV on the wall above my fireplace. First of all any site which says "if you can hang a picture you can hang an LCD TV" obviously has never done it before. I am not saying that a less then tech savvy person cannot do it but it requires 2 people with moderate home and tech skills to accomplish this task with any speed and if your TV weighs more then 80lbs maybe 3 or 4 just for lifting.

I purchased the LCD TV online at a good price and a Mustang LCD mount along with it. The first and most important step is locating the studs in your wall. I used a decent stud finder, electronic which can detect electrical and depth of the stud on top of that annoying beep. If you dont' have one I would highly recommend that you buy one which tells you the center of the stud not just if there is one.

Check, check twice and then check again for stud centers and edges. Mark them on the wall and draw a line marking the left, right and center of the 2 studs you are going after. If you miss or end up skewed into a stud it can make the TV less stable. Now place your mount on the wall and use a level (or the built in level) to find where you have bolt holes that line up with your lines for the center of the stud. Mark these locations and take the mount down. Go get your drill and pre-drill at least 1/3-1/2 of the length of your bolts. Then have help placing the mount on the wall again. level and screw the bolts into the wall and if necessary tighten with a wrench or socket set.

Now that the mount is up place the corresponding brackets on the back of your TV, plug in any cables that will be impossible to reach once its on the wall then hoist it up there. That was the biggest challenge as 70lbs is not easy to lift above your head when its that awkwardly large.

Obviously if you are running power to the LCD on the wall get an electrician to do any power wiring and perhaps run your A/V cables as well so they are not near any electrical as this can cause distortion in your picture.

In all a fun project for the average do it yourself person. Be very sure that your wall can handle the load some plasma and LCD TVs can weigh 100+lbs and some will rip right out of the wall if not installed properly.

Good luck to all those who attempt this route.

Friday, May 4, 2007

hosted voicemail transcription - VoVision

Alright I have had a number of email and comment requests to talk about VoVision.

VoVision came as a solution to a number of problems:

First that voice recognition sales people have been placed in the position to be liars for the last 15 years. They had to promise a system could do things that are not possible. We understand that their are many pitfalls to accurate voice recognition especially when you put it in a real world environment. That is why in my opnion the only realy voice recognition will be one which self learns or adapts based on a broad range of data. Enter VoVision.

In the legal industry this means you can put down tapes, microphones, individual installs of Dragon naturally Speaking etc. and instead opt for a hosted or in house call in system. Which automaticly sends files to a web interface and notifies the corrector that new files are available. In addition when your support staff correct your document and send it back for final review to go out to a client. The system TRAINS ITSELF. The next time that client/matter/voice etc. comes up the system will be more accurate. Reducing the time and cost in dictation, voicemail transcription etc.

Contact if you are intested or have more questions and someone will get back to you.

If anyone has more specific questions post them here and I will address them.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Office 2007

Rather the reinvent the wheel check out this review of Microsoft Office 2007. I think his discussions on the usefulness of the new "Ribbon" are interesting. I think different users will have different perspectives. One thing is for sure, more training will be required for Vista and Office 2007 then any other Microsoft product.

Virtualization Linux and Windows

I saw this article today and had to post about it. Virtualization is a buzz word going on around the IT industry right now. I can assure you it is more then buzz. Every IT Admin has to be excited about the concept of "virtual" copies of their critical servers. Instead of ghost images or other files which only help in failure virtualized copies can do that and more. Think if you needed to install updates to a server that cannot go down but you have 2 servers. You can open a virtual copy of the key server while the other is down for maintenance. This type of technology coupled with programs which will allow quick updates of these images will create a powerful case for 0 downtime. As hardware redundancy gets better each year finally I believe we have a usable solution on the software side.

I suggest all IT and IT interested people go to and try their demo software to get familiar with this technology.

Oh, the article. This caught my eye because I, like many in IT, see the value in running Linux machines. A more stable, more secure and more cost effective solution. What do you do about the need for windows apps? Well windows linux tie-in programs have been around and maybe let you play a very old PC game none were ready for business deployment. Virtualization may change this as well. If Microsoft was willing to loosen its licensee restrictions on OS copies this would be even nicer. Think of a different world where your core infrastructure is all Linux and you run small virtualizations of Windows for any programs which cannot make the switch to Linux. There is an interesting idea here...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Multiple Monitors

This is one of many articles about the trend towards dual monitors. I must say that as a web developer I do not think I could function with only one. Must computers now are shipping with dual monitor capability and if they are not a replacement graphics card can be found for $80 which does.

Monitors as well have come down in price making it even easier to justify the costs. The caveat I would make is that your users have to be savvy enough to utilize the increased space not just clutter it with more pictures of their friends or animals.

I am not sure we could justify it firm-wide but take an extra monitor you have lying around and have your Legal Administrator, IT Manager, or Managing Partner give it a try.


If you have a laptop it has a monitor port it is blue and looks like this:

If you have a desktop and you see 2 of these then you are in luck. It is also likely you have one of these and a scary looking white connector. That is called DVI. For a few dollars you can buy a DVI to VGA converter to make it resemble this picture and your monitor cable.

In Windows "rcight click" on your desktop and select properties.

then the "Settings tab"

You will see both of your monitors in the window. Click on the one with a "2" and check the box which says "Extend my Windows desktop onto this monitor"

Thats it!

For a great companion program called UltraMon goto:

The best thing about this is it adds small icons to the left of your usual "min, max,close" options in the upper right of each window. One icon tells the computer to open that window on the other monitor the other icon tells it to stretch the window across both.

Advice: Buy matching monitors in size and brand. Get 17 to 19 inch monitors with very very thin edges to when the 2 stand together there isn't a big gab. You can also buy stands which mount them together if you want.