Digital Blogs

Lies Damn Lies and Statistics

Posted by Tim
Tim
I'm from MTN Business in South Africa, just a friendly guy who gets a kick out o
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on Wednesday, 28 November 2012
in Digital Blogs
Thank you GBS (George Bernard Shaw)for the comment. A lot of people in the forums seem to be complaining about being capped between certain times or that their downloads are not as fast as the line and ISP they are paying for. The ADSL is a best possible service. ie if you have a 384 line then that is the best that you will get as a download speed but it may be a little worse or a lot worse than that. Broadband is not going to provide a guaranteed service. So while we all want to have the best possible service I believe that it needs to be looked at over a longer period not that it was bad between 5pm and 11pm when I was only getting 100Kbs for example when I get 200-300Bps the rest of the time. If you like the road sign says 60km and hour but the traffic volume reduces it and you only move at 30km. So that is what you get at 7am down the busy road into town. It is not the 60km that you can do at 3am in the morning but you have to live with it. So in short average it out and one statistical snapshot is just that a snapshot
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Bandwidth Monitoring tools

Posted by Tim
Tim
I'm from MTN Business in South Africa, just a friendly guy who gets a kick out o
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 28 November 2012
in Digital Blogs
Frequently people are asking about tools to monitor bandwidth even down to individual PCs on the network. In the last week I have seen 3 threads alone that relate to this. SO below are a few tools that might assist. If you have others let me know and I will add them Cucusoft Netguard [url=http://www.cucusoft.com/netguard.aspx]here[/url] will monitor each application on your PC and its bandwidth usage. Some reports though that is not monitoring Google Chrome. Netlimiter [url=http://www.netlimiter.com/]here[/url] Provides much the same but reports indicate that it is easier to use. Networx [url=http://www.softperfect.com/products/networx/]here[/url] Is another option that you can look at Bitmeter [url=http://codebox.org.uk/pages/bitmeter2]here[/url] looks good as well especially as it has a web interface that you could use to access the info remotely. All of the above are for individual workstations to monitor traffic over an office network you need to do work with routers and other monitoring tools. I came across this one [url=http://oss.oetiker.ch/mrtg/]here[/url]which does need a SNMP capable router.
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Should I get a conference phone to use over skype?

Posted by Tim
Tim
I'm from MTN Business in South Africa, just a friendly guy who gets a kick out o
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 28 November 2012
in Digital Blogs
Conference phones over normal telecommunication lines have been around for ages. Polycom is probably the market leader here. Someone asked about using a polycom device over skype? Personally I wouldn\'t Skype does not have the best sound quality and having a great conference phone is not going to improve it. I would rather use a PC with speakers and an external microphone over skype. Done it often and it has worked well.
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A picture says a thousand words

Posted by Tim
Tim
I'm from MTN Business in South Africa, just a friendly guy who gets a kick out o
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 28 November 2012
in Digital Blogs
Hi there, Nothing is more difficult as a human than to try and see trends when you are just given a set of figures. Graphs though are something that immediately we are able to see trends and anomalies. More people are putting graphs on their web pages and with some applications in Cloud environments there is a need for embedding graph code in the applications themselves. I did a bit of research though and if I had to do graphs in my web application I would look a bit more into the following : [url=http://www.fusionsoftware.com]Fusion Software[/url] has a great looking product. I looked at some of the chart types that it supports and the range and usage is extensive. Purchase is either suite or the appropriate components. They also have extensions into products like Dreamweaver to make the integration easier. [url=http://www.jpowered.com]Jpowered[/url]has Java and PHP solutions. They also have tutorials on embedding graphs into web pages and other interesting articles on graphs and their use. You could also look at what Google is [url=https://developers.google.com/chart/]doing[/url] The pricing I will leave you to look at but if you want it to get people coming back then you may have to pay for the best
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Creating a Wifi just be careful

Posted by Tim
Tim
I'm from MTN Business in South Africa, just a friendly guy who gets a kick out o
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 28 November 2012
in Digital Blogs
Setting up a wireless network is easy to do today and is something the professional does in his sleep. For the amateur just a word of caution. Creating a wireless network opens up your LAN (and hence access to your PC) to anyone who can get into the wireless router. If your router is connected to the internet then they now have access to use up your bandwidth as and when they like. SO very important to put a password on your wireless connection. By default the router does not have one generally so it is important that yo put the security in place as soon as possible. I would also treat it like any other password and change it regularly in case someone has managed to get access. Another good tip is not to cycle round the passwords either. So go for wireless but be careful.
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QoS some links to help you

Posted by Tim
Tim
I'm from MTN Business in South Africa, just a friendly guy who gets a kick out o
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 28 November 2012
in Digital Blogs
The first time we connect the modem or router to our broadband we tend to do so with a blind plug and play attitude. If therre are a number of people using the connectivity say in a small office or a home then the demands that each is placing on the connectivity is different. Someone could be streaming video from Youtube, other just surfing the web whilst other may be using voip. Unfortunately each of these has different demands to ensure quality of service and if we do not put priorities on the data according to its type then not everyone is going to be happy. This is what QoS in the modem/router is meant to do. It is not an area that is immediately obvious to the first time user. Some modems make it easy to do but others assume that you have the knowledge and know what you are doing. I came across this series of videos and reading material that will give you a better idea. Follow this [url=http://actionpacked.com/3-easy-steps-understanding-qos]link[/url] to start your appreciation of what you could do with your router. Follow me on @TechXpertTim
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My Router\'s stopped working what now?

Posted by Tim
Tim
I'm from MTN Business in South Africa, just a friendly guy who gets a kick out o
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 28 November 2012
in Digital Blogs
I was responding to a forum post earlier and in doing so I thought the option to take was obvious. The person had gone away on business and when he came back his Telkom supplied router had stopped working and he could not get to the internet. He had the technician come out and he confirmed the line is working. The person now wanted to know what to do. He had had the router he thought for more than 2 years. I had a similar problem a few years ago. I took the router to my local Telkom shop and explained the problem. I had been using the router for about 28 months. They tested it and agreed it was faulty and immediately provided me with a new router at no charge. This is what I would do. It is one of those situations where you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. If Telkom says sorry it is broken you will need to buy another one then he has options available in the Telkom store. They may even just provide him with another one at no cost. So my advice if you have an ISP supplied product approach the ISP first and see what they can offer. Follow me on @TechXpertTim
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What should I look at in building my own PC

Posted by Tim
Tim
I'm from MTN Business in South Africa, just a friendly guy who gets a kick out o
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 28 November 2012
in Digital Blogs
This is a frequent question in many of the forums that I visit. It is either someone wanting to build a machine on a budget or someone looking for the ultimate PC. I came across a really good posting from Tech Republic the details of which I have copied below link is [url=http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/10things/10-things-you-should-do-when-building-a-new-pc/3436?tag=nl]here[/url] Takeaway: Building a custom system lets you tailor the components to meet your needs, while holding down the costs. Here are a few things to consider before you get started. Oftentimes, the only way to get what you really want out of a new computer is to build it yourself. Although there is nothing inherently difficult about building a PC, there are a number of considerations you need to take into account before you begin ordering the parts. This article outlines 10 such considerations. 1: Decide what is really important to you Even though computer hardware prices have dropped dramatically over the last few years, it is still possible to spend several thousand dollars building a PC. Assuming that you want to keep the total cost reasonable, stop and think about how the computer will be used. This will help you best determine how to allocate your budget. For example, if the computer is going to be used as a gaming machine, you might choose to spend a good part of your budget on a high-end video card or two. On the other hand, if the computer will serve as a virtualization host, you might be better off spending the money on extra memory. 2: Plan for the future Computers evolve at a feverish pace, and there is no way to future-proof your hardware. The eventual obsolescence of your computer is a sad fact of life, no matter how high end the machine might be today. One thing you can do to help extend the lifespan of your new computer is to purchase a high-end system board. The system board as the one component that arguably limits your computer more than anything else. For example, your system board limits the total amount of memory that can be installed on the computer and dictates the system’s CPU architecture. Spending a little bit extra on a system board now might make it easier to upgrade your computer down the road. 3: Don’t skimp on the fans One lesson I have learned the hard way is that heat kills. If a computer gets too hot, the heat can damage the CPU. This can be an issue for almost any PC, but the problem of heat dissipation comes more pronounced on higher-end systems because they generally produce more heat. Consider the problem of heat dissipation when you’re designing your new system. Be sure to plan for an adequate number of fans and maybe even some liquid cooling. 4: Determine up front if you will need any extra connectors While I am on the subject of cooling, I want to mention that it is important to determine up front how you will power the cooling fans. Many of the cooling fans that are available today are designed to attach to a four-pin Molex connector (normally used for powering legacy disk types). However, some of the newer fans use a PWM connector instead. These fans are designed to plug directly into the system board, which can monitor the fan’s rotational speed. While this might sound good in theory, system boards have a limited number of fan connectors. For example, I recently built several new systems. The case I used had four fans installed, but my system board had connectors for only three fans (plus the CPU fan). As a result, I had to order an adapter for each machine that would allow me to plug the fan into a disk power connector. 5: Perform periodic maintenance As previously mentioned, higher-end systems need plenty of fans to keep the internal components cool. However, installing lots of fans alone isn’t enough. It’s also necessary to do some periodic maintenance to make sure that the fans are doing their jobs. To give you a more concrete example, I have a fairly high-end PC that has nine case fans. The problem is that the computer sits underneath my desk, relatively obscured from sight. A few months ago, the computer’s air intake became clogged with dust. This prevented the nine fans from moving enough air, and the computer overheated as a result. My failure to keep the air intake clean resulted in having to purchase a new processor. As a side note, it is also a good idea to periodically make sure that the fans installed in your new computer are actually working. Many of the case fans on the market are cheaply made and sometimes stop working. 6: Choose power supplies carefully When picking out a power supply for your new computer, you should first make sure that the power supply delivers adequate wattage to power the computer. Unlike the days of old, however, wattage should not be your only consideration. You also need to consider the types of connectors provided by the power supply. A basic, low-end PC will probably be fine using a power supply that provides only system board and disk connectors. But higher-end systems may require that certain components be powered directly by the power supply. For example, some AMD video cards require a 850 watt (or higher) power supply with two 150 watt eight-pin and two 75 watt six-pin PCI Express power connectors. Another concern with regard to your power supply is the length of the power cables. If you ‘re building the PC in a large, full-tower case, you may find that some disk power cables are simply too short to reach all of the drive bays. 7: Shop around for the best price on memory When I was shopping for parts to build my latest PC, I noticed that memory prices were all over the place. I compared prices with three online vendors and found that one vendor’s price for memory was double that of the lowest-priced vendor for exactly the same product. It goes without saying that different vendors will often have different prices, but I was really surprised by just how drastic the price differences were for memory. 8: Don’t buy more case than you need When building a computer, it can be tempting to spend a few extra bucks and get a case that is flashy and eye-catching. Sometimes, though, the higher-end cases could end up being overkill. For example, I recently found a case that had 15 Internal drive bays. But a case like that would seriously been overkill since I was planning to install only six drives. 9: Verify that your case has the appropriate USB headers When picking out a case, you should also make sure that it has the appropriate USB headers. Most of the newer system boards have a connection for USB 3.0 headers. The physical design of this port prevents the connection of USB 2.0 headers. So it’s important to look for a case that fully supports USB 3.0. 10: Have a plan for cable management Finally, make sure that you have a plan for cable management. The more components you install in a computer, the more cables you’ll generally have to deal with. For instance, every drive requires a data cable and a power cable, and you might also need power cables for things like case fans and video cards. All those cables can get messy — and a clutter of cables can restrict airflow through the case, resulting in excessive heat. Develop a plan for keeping the cables neat and tidy before you start building. Follow me on @TechXpertTim
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I need my WiFi extended and cable is not an option

Posted by Tim
Tim
I'm from MTN Business in South Africa, just a friendly guy who gets a kick out o
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 28 November 2012
in Digital Blogs
While being able to extend to another router by cable is first prize, at times WiFi may be the only option. Extending routers using WiFi can also introduce issues around security as WEP is often the only protocol that is available. Through a forum one of the members had the problem oof extending the range in a location that already the WiFi router was struggling. Cabling was not an option so he invested in a TP-Link WA730RE Wireless Extender He found it easy to install and gave him satisfactory results at the far end of his property. I am sure that this is not the only extender that would do the job and if cable is not an option then there are products out there tha may help you get the job done. Regards Tim Follow me on @TechXperTim
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Performance management tools a few suggestions

Posted by Tim
Tim
I'm from MTN Business in South Africa, just a friendly guy who gets a kick out o
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 28 November 2012
in Digital Blogs
So we now have our servers chugging along but the complaints come in that \"It seems slow today\" you look and you see nothing strange running on the server. Just seeing what is running is often not enough in any business and you need to look a little deeper because solving performance does not always mean a faster processor or more memory. You need proper tools to analyze what is going on. Some suggestions from the forums I have looked at include [url=http://status2k.com/]Status 2K[/url] It looks at CPU, Bandwidth and memory but does not seem to look at IO to disks (and this can be a problem) It also does not look at monitoring your SQL databases which can be another big problem. [url=http://www.nagios.org]nagios[/url] Offers the same but also looks at some applications like exchange. Again though IO is not one of the areas covered unless I have missed it in their literature.With nagios you may also want to use [url=http://www.cacti.net]Cacti.net[/url] [url=http://www.teamquest.com]Teamquest[/url] is one that I have used in anger and it is an impressive product. It does do the IO monitoring and with the modeling options you can look at server consolidation.splitting based on discrete workloads. It is going to be more pricey that the other options but its accuracy is amazing. Follow me on @TechXpertTim
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