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Welcome to my site

If you need help with IT and are either a local business or home user then send me an email. I can give you a free email consultation if you have any questions about computers and networking that you need answering.

I have sample VBS scripts which I use every for user information purposes or to map network resources between SAMBA and Active Directory. You'll find them in my content here. These are not all my own work. I have taken parts of scripts I have found online and adapted or extended them to meet my needs, often making them more applicable or user friendly.

I've had nearly 30,000 downloads of drivers I've modified and documents I've archived with only a handful of thanks so I've moved most of my downloads into a 'Online Shop' for nominal charges. This is to help pay for my hosting as times are hard.
30
Nov
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I have spent a lot of time and effort working on upgrading a lot of Windows XP computers attached to a variety of Bio-Rad, Beckman Coulter, Olympus and Covaris manufactured laboratory equipment.

These tend to have generally available components such as interface cards or imaging devices (usually firewire) but in some cases they use custom drivers.

I will write up some simple guides in my 'Content' area on how to address some of these systems and what to look for if you tackle something new.

Beckman Coulter DU 800 Photospectrometer Windows 7 32bit

Bio-Rad GelDoc and Chemidoc Quantity One upgrades to Windows 7
Category:  Misc
03
Apr
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Back at the beginning of December 2012 I ordered a Samsung Galaxy Tab 7" for my son for Christmas. It was from Currys and the offer was £50 cash back and a 8GB SD card if it was bought with a case.

I waited 30 days and then made my claim with Currys. A couple of months later (beginning March 2013) I received a cheque from Currys for £20. I was straight on the phone to ask for my other £30 knowing that it was supposed to come via Samsung.

Currys were at fault here as they did not make customers aware at the time of purchase or at the time of making the claim that £30 was supposed to be claimed back directly from Samsung.

Fortunately when I rang they had realised their error and were handling a large number of these claims for customers. Eventually at the end of March a cheque arrived from Samsung for the balance of £30.

But what about my free 8GB SD card? I received an email from Samsung:
Dear Mr McGrath
Your Samsung Back To College payment has now been validated. You will receive your £30.00 cashback via a cheque within 7 working days of receipt of this email.
Please keep this email for future reference.
Please contact one of our promotional support advisors for further help if required.
E-Mail: help@samsungbacktocollege.com
Telephone: 0843 308 3776
Local call rates apply; lines open Monday to Friday 8:00am to 8:00pm.


I replied.... and my free 8GB SD card? They replied.... we'll look into it but should be with you in a few weeks.

Happy it is resolved but annoyed it has taken a lot of work from me.
Category:  Misc
09
Jul
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We upgraded an old HP dual Quad E5335 server to a newer generation E54?? Quad for our ESX system in work which allowed more features.

I thought I'd try the old E5335s in my Mac Pro as I'd read online that they were compatible. Unfortunately it didnt work quite as I'd expected. It took me about an hour to get the flippin thing apart to gain access to swap them out. There is a panel over the heatsinks which just pops out. Then the hardest bit was removing the front system cooling fans. There is one screw near the hard disks and then it takes a good 'yank' (pull not American) to remove. I was scared about breaking something but it was fine.

The RAM boards have to come out so you can get an allen key in to undo the heatsink bolts, it takes some patience and persistence but they eventually come loose. Once installed I put it back together and booted and it 'chimed' I got the Apple logo and the OS started but then.... KERNEL PANIC... the error mentioned something about the wrong number of CPUs. I tried the CPUs in reverse and this time it didn't boot at all. When I examined the E5335s closely I discovered they were not the same stepping version. One was a SLAEK and the other a SLAC7.

I wasn't going to be defeated so I searched ebay (other auction sites are available). After a couple of weeks I finally won a second SLAEK E5335 on ebay for £90. I installed both the E5335 SLAEK processors. Pressed my power button and 'dong' it turned on. The OS loaded. I logged in, assigned 4 cores to by VMWare Bootcamp and it has been working a week.

I cannot benchmark test on OSX but Windows 7 'Experience rating' has gone from 4.5 to 6.6 for my CPUs. With the graphics card upgrade and doubling my RAM the Windows 7 'experience' has gone from 2.5 to 6 for graphics and 4.5 to 7.2 for RAM.

I have played Left 4 Dead 2 with full graphic settings in full screen on VMWare Bootcamp and it feels as good as a dedicated Intel Quad core standalone PC with Windows 7.
Category:  Misc
26
May
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My old VMWare Fusion had an experience rating of '3' with my original NVidia 7300GT in my Mac Pro and one of my Mac engineers had discovered a hack to flash the firmware of a PC grade 1GB ATI Radeon 4870 so that it would work in an Apple Mac Pro.

The benefit to this is that the official Apple Store version is about £286 whereas we bought a 1GB PC model for less than £120 from CCL in Bradford. We chose the 1GB version as there is an issue with the card firmware rom size. This is strange as the official Apple versions all seem to be 512MB, even CCL sell an official Apple 512MB one at over £300.

You need a Windows PC to apply the modified Apple/Windows firmware (the card will then work in Bootcamp and on a normal Windows PC). The card also has dual 6 pin power connectors so you'll need a splitter (most retail versions come with one in the box). This graphics card power splitter was fiddly to fit into the Mac Pro.

After rebooting there is an error message at the OSX logon screen that the graphics card does not have enough power which you can ignore. If you cannot get dual screens to work then there are some patched kexts to download and install to fix this.

Back in VMWare Fusion and bootcamp I ran the experience test and my graphics has jumped to '6'. I can now play Left 4 Dead 2 in VMWare Fusion on my Bootcamp partition.

There is a great guide with some downloads here and I have some of the files on my site here.
Category:  VMWare Fusion
22
Mar
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I have just replaced my Boot Camp XP with 64bit Windows 7. Twice today I have had a BSOD with a stop Error 0x0000007e dxgmms1.sys.

After some googling it appeared it was a graphics card issue. I searched Apple and found that there is a graphics card firmware update for iMac and Mac Pro systems with Nvidia 7300GT video cards here.

I've rebooted and started up Fusion. So far my Windows 7 is behaving and can play back video which it couldn't do before. There also appears to be less flicker when opening applications.
Category:  VMWare Fusion
07
Jan
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I had problems trying to play L4D2 and the only way I found to get it to get passed the loading screen is to right click on the icon, select properties, click on the compatability tab and tick the 'Run this program as an administrator'. If your account is not an admin you will need you network adminstrator or parents to let you make this change.

Good luck playing.
Category:  Games
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