Thursday, 20 December 2007

Arc migration problem - Bugger!

It turns out that the Arc problem was because I only copied over the ConfigDB.mdf file but not the ConfigDBlog.ldf file (Because I didn't want any logs from the old build - they were unnecessary).

Copied that over - bish bash bosh it works...

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Grr - Arc Connect migration problem

I had some fun and games with Arc today which wasn't pleasant. The problem was the following:

Existing server needs to be replaced with a new platform, migrating over the same version (4.1.3) to a different server. The method I followed is below:
  • Stop all services on old server and stop SQL Server
  • Copy ConfigDB to a repository somewhere
  • On new server, create a new ConfigDB in Arc
  • Stop all services on old server and stop SQL Server
  • Overwrite the ConfigDB file on the new server with the file from the repository
  • Start everything up

Now usually all would be well, and have used this method many times. The difference in the past is that I would take say, a 4.1.0 database and then use the DBUpgrade.exe to upgrade the database to 4.1.3 which i'm guessing makes changes to the servername of the database.

My guess here is that because the old server was called something else and I didn't make any modifications to the database, it refused to work (Database would report as not found in Arc, and "Suspect" in Enterprise Manager). I attempted to change the servername but completely forgot that the server name alteration wipes out all the licenses. Bugger.

Need to work on this tomorrow, and will post the solution!

Monday, 17 December 2007

The future of Windows Mobile

An interesting article over at got me thinking. Unfortunately I think the problem is that new versions of Windows Mobile don't come with enough new features, and don't offer me enough new, useful features as an IT professional. Who cares about the general consumer? As long as companies such as HTC refuse to concentrate on features such as cameras (with flash?!) then there's no point MS bothering on about consumer grade devices.

Comparing my SPV M600 to my new HTC Touch it's clear that the majority of improvements are with the HTC interface. In fact been as I used to have Remote Desktop support and now don't, it's easy to see why people get a bit miffed with MS. And MSN Messenger on my phone - why must it add all my MSN contacts into my Outlook contacts list? That's just crap.

Ok there are plenty of reasons under the hood no doubt that contribute as improvements over previous versions of Windows Mobile but I can think of loads of easily implementable features that could be added to the system that would make it better. I want to see a colleagues' calendar for instance. And i'd also like to tightly control my phone status (silent, aeroplane mode etc) based on more customised calendar settings rather than just the generic appointment options.

Microsoft are doing a great job - but could do better...

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Jed tries Vodka infusion thing...

After visiting my good friend Mark who was making all sorts of alcoholic homebrews I couldn't help but get excited about seeing what I could come up with!

I went to my local Wilkinsons (The bigger store the better) and Sainsburys, and picked up:
  • 2x demijohns and CO2 release valve corks
  • 1x bag of cherries (405g it turned out to be after de-stalking)
  • 1x bag of 500g frozen "Summer fruits" consisting of blackberries, rasberries, strawberries and redcurrents
  • 2 Litres of cheapo Vodka
  • 1KG castor sugar

So I have no idea if this procedure was the right way of doing things, or in fact I have no idea how long to leave the mixture but heyho, it'll still be a merry Christmas!

I tried to dry up the fruit as much as possible but I found the frozen stuff was rather juicy! I didn't bother cutting up or pitting the cherries (Maybe I should have done?), chucked it all into the jug with 500g of sugar, and then lobbed in the Vodka.

Will post to say how tasty it is!

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Just a quick catchup...

As usual i've been busy with a flurry of jobs so i've not been able to do half the things I wanted to do in the time that I have - including the blogg0r. Several things come to mind though:

  • The IronKey: looks like the absolute dogs' plums in terms of security - I wonder how long it is before someone gives cracking it a go? :)
  • I had a new Golf Match turn up - woohoo! Overall a very very nice car, though I still can't figure out how to adjust the mirrors...
  • I joined the IET! I'm considering doing a CEng and if I get round to it i'll post up my experiences of this.
  • I went to see a customer yesterday who had a water mains pipe installed above the main PDU of the server room. Some people...
  • I think i'm addicted to innocent smoothies.

Mike Out.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Push Email

We currently have a problem with using Push Email at our office because we use SBS Server, in that if we enable firewall port access to the server for OWA you can also access the server's Sharepoint system - gah.

I'd find Push Email really useful (and i'm sure other colleagues would too) but our security comes first.

I just happened to be browsing around and noticed a little link at the top of the page. Lo and behold I ended up with a program called Emoze which is a nice Push Email program that can either be run using OWA (If it's available) or your desktop PC. Essentially then, a client program sits on your desktop PC and integrates into IMAP on your PC to monitor your inbox and push changes out. The problem with this method is as soon as you shut your PC down, you lose the functionality as the desktop client connection gets severed.

All you have to do is sign up for a free account, enter your phone number and install the client on your Windows Mobile device and wahey - it works straight away! I like it nice and easy :) In fact, emails ended up in my mobile inbox faster than appearing in my Outlook box on the desktop!

[Devil's Advocate]

  • I am a little unsure of how configurable the software is in terms of how large emails can be that get sent across the GPRS connection. However I confirmed that Emoze does remove attachments from emails automatically and you can click on the attachment in the email on your mobile device to download it next sync.
  • That doesn't really matter because i'm likely to uninstall the program very soon. I work with a laptop at work and as soon as I turn it off to go home i'd lose the push email function anyway. What's the point unless if you have a desktop somewhere logged on as you in the background? Still i'm sure some people will find this invaluable!

[/Devil's Advocate]

Overall a great product!

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Vista slowness on the Asus R2H

This post on the inquirer made me jump for joy that I might see some extra performance from Vista in my Asus R2H. However considering the firm involved confirmed a 50% increase in performance in XP over Vista it made the use of Vista on the UMPC rather hard to swallow. It also reminded me that Gemma tried to use the device on the weekend and complained about the speed of things.

Time to go back to XP methinks...

Advice on CallManager 6 BAT tool

I hate BAT. I truly think that Cisco have actually made the BAT tool more unusable this time round and it sucks!

My advice to you is to start BATting earlier in your implementation process as it's likely to take you a longer amount of time (and leave you with bald patches with all the head scratching).

Oddities include:
  • All sorts of odd fields crop up when you export Device Profiles (most of which are blank) such as Device Pool! When I exported a Device Profile i'd configured and then deleted it from the system I found that (without editing) I couldn't use that exact file to import the same record because I got a "Audible Message Waiting" field was not a valid field. Stupid thing...
  • The User export now contains a "PKID" field which looks to be the CallManager's Primary Key field for users in the system. Attempts to import users while leaving this field blank failed due to a "Duplicate value in index field" error. To fix it I had to generate 250 hex strings and stick them into the spreadsheet.
  • Both the Phones import and the Device Profiles import failed to recognise that I had configured a Service and Service URL buttons. Every attempt to get this to work failed and I ended up manually adding Extension Mobility Service to 250 phones and 250 Device Profiles. I hope I never have to do a 1000 phone system using CM6 - it would just be a nightmare...


Tuesday, 20 November 2007

HTC Touch fun!

Well following on from my previous post (and now that i'm a little better for the sleep!) i'll continue with my experiences with the HTC Touch over my trip to Paris.

General Features

Well i'm sure there isn't much I can say in this section that you couldn't ascertain from any review of the HTC Touch out there on the net - so i'll just have to resort to conjecture and opinion!

The device is very light and thin yet packed with features. I managed to successfully figure out how to BlueTooth pictures to my girlfriend's phone without a hitch, and use the free wireless in the hotel which proved to be a great asset - who needs long distance calls when you have free access to email? I won't venture into the world of a phone call vs email etc, but email is good enough to be able to say "we're safe, and we'll be back before you know it!".

The Touch interface proved to be more useful than I first expected. I soon learned that you could grab the interface and scroll up and down windows, as well as the basics you will have seen in any other review on the web. However I found that there were a few things missing from the interface that i'd seen on the iPhone such as full integration with Pictures and Videos, and other places. The Audio Manager was nicely integrated into the interface for easy access to the music player, and also with the rather useful HTC Today Screen addon, I found the interface sufficiently improved my experience in using the phone over previous touch screen models, such as the Orange SPV M600. There's a few things that need work so for now i'd say it's a great attempt by HTC - but will improve over the next versions.

Applications and Toys

I found the applications and tools on the Touch were as expected of a touch screen based Microsoft Smartphone but it was also nice to see that Orange had not removed any of the Windows Live components. HTC has also added to the phone it's own applications which are certainly an improvement over their previous phones that i've used. These apps include:

  • Task manager integration into the main interface. Tapping and holding the "x" button of an application terminates the process in memory.
  • "Audio Manager" turned out to be a HTC version of Media Player that was integrated into the interface. While this sounds nice, it's clear that HTC haven't managed to integrate original Microsoft components into their own interface as cleanly as we'd like. Audio Manager is pretty rubbish at Playlists and for that reason alone I ended up using Windows Media player as my music player of choice.
  • Weather application on the Today screen is a nice touch (no pun intended); HOWEVER if you're in the UK you'll find that you can only have a choice of London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Plymouth! How lame!

It's worth noting that Remote Desktop is missing. Bummer.

Camera and Photo's

As I mentioned I was suprised at how good the camera was. I grabbed the photo's off the phone using Activesync and it was clear though that I have some kind of tremor! Seriously though - in dark environents it's very easy to blur a photo because of camera shake combined with a poor lense/no flash. It's also quite easy to do the same in the light. Annoying! So great for still photo's but rubbish for action shots.

Here are some example photo's:

Notre Dame:

A night shot from the Eiffel Tower:

Shaky handedness! :

Don't buy this phone on the strength of the camera!

Biggest problems

As always i'm playing devils advocate. The following problems annoyed me sufficiently to post them up:

  • The "Audio Manager" doesn't have a very good library system. Suppose I had an album of music contained in a folder on the memory card. If I wanted to listen to that album, the library manager of "Audio Manager" adds the songs in alphabetical order rather than song ID or filename (such as 01 - songname.mp3). It means that you have to painstakingly contruct playlists for your albums. I stuck with Windows Media Player throughout - which is a great shame.
  • I absolutely hate the Microsoft Smartphone "connections" system. It just isn't intuative! This concept of "Work" and "Internet" is utter crap and I have never got it to work how I want (Or if I did, I couldn't replicate it). For instance I could be connected to WiFi but if I then tried to connect to MSN Messenger it would start off my GPRS connection! ARGH! Also a massive problem is that out of the box, I couldn't/still can't connect to my Exchange server every time. In most cases, the phone would report "Cannot connect using these settings - check your connection settings and try again". If anyone can give me a definitive fix for this, please help!
  • I can't customise the default location of "Pictures and Videos" unless I go into the registry somewhere...
  • There just isn't enough memory for me. When I syncronised my Exchange email for the first time I have 200mb of email altogether (including attachments), and without attachments I couldn't syncronize all of my email to the phone. The biggest problem? You can't (out of the box) change the default repository for standard email (you can only change the location of attachments). Grrr.
  • Sometimes the phone will continue to play music when I press the power button (which is what I want it to do so I can save battery) and other times the music stops. God knows what's going on there...

Overall though - much better than the SPV E650 - which will be on Ebay soon!

Back from Paris!

I'm on the umpc in bed (As you do) and need sleep - So i'll keep this one brief!

  • The HTC Touch has been awesome over the holiday with extra long battery life and connections! I was really surprised at how great the camera was and i'll figure out somewhere to upload the pictures and provide some examples. There were a few grievances though which ill cover soon.
  • I passed my CVoice exam! Only 4 more exams to go...
  • I get company car soon!

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

HTC Touch on it's way!

Hooray for Ebay, my HTC Touch is on it's way, and a steal at £170 for a seemingly brand new device. I was having a read at the specs and what not and I can't say i'm super happy with it when there are upcoming devices round the corner that always seem better! (HTC Polaris anyone?)

Major problems I have are:

  • I ran out of memory too easily on my E650, and to my dismay the Touch has little memory too...
  • No GPS - wah! I'll still have to stick with my external Holox thingy
  • No 3G - not that it's any good in the UK anyway?

But on the plus of course:

  • Small, thin, light and dare I say
  • Gimmicky TouchFLO tech - though i'm a sucker for gimmicks...
  • 1GB card included
  • I get to play with the "full fat" Windows Mobile software

More to come when (hopefully) it turns up tomorrow!

CVoice is hard going boys and girls. It's like the CCNA of Voice: many many general areas to be aware of unlike the more specific CallManager/IPT exam or QoS. I still think I made the right decision of taking the exam first though. Anyone else looking at taking CCVP - pop me a comment!

Sunday, 11 November 2007

On holiday - woohoo!

Finally bagged myself some holiday so i'm looking forward to being fairly PC free over the next week. Oh wait, my CVoice is booked for Thursday! Bugger...

I have a bid on Ebay for a HTC Touch! Come one!!!

Oh and yesterday I had the pleasure of frequenting MPH 07, and had a ride in a "lightly breathed on" (read: engine replaced with a 3.5 litre Rover engine) Lotus Esprit. Now im trying really hard not to figure out how I could buy one.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Dual Mode Phones take their first big leap

Woohoo cheers Cisco!

On the front page of their site they have a news post with a little gem in it. We're finally going to see the first SCCP load for a non-Nokia phone (For the record, the E60, E61 and E65 are utter crap - don't buy one!).

The featured device is a HP iPAQ 600 series phone based on Microsoft Mobile. Hopefully this will pave the way towards more and more Microsoft based devices running in harmony with Cisco CallManager:

I definitely can't wait! Imagine a device that is the pinnacle of mobility and productivity in the future. The following features would be nice!
  • Dual Mode (Wireless and GSM)

  • Push Email

  • GPS

  • Touch functionaity

  • MP3 player (DVB based TV onboard would be cool too!)

  • Camera with flash

Nice one Cisco!

Monday, 5 November 2007

Just a quick catch up...

Unfortunately I haven't had time for many things over the past week. But with install number 2 out of 3 gone live this morning - and all working well; i'm in good spirits!

So just as a quick catchup post i'll mention a few things:

  • Thanks to Stef for offering me a trial version of NetMotion software. Basically it's a very similar product to the Windows Mobile Device Manager software I discussed in my previous post. However hopefully it'll prove to be a well established bit of software - that more importantly is available now and supports my phone. I haven't even managed to download it yet though lol - will grab it soon and report back.
  • The latest install had an interesting problem which personally i'd not seen before - but i'm sure a few people have! We moved the E1 connection from an old PBX to the new gateway but found that no calls would go out - giving us a PSTN message like "Number not recognised". We tried alot of different things such as changing the Type and Plan fields of the ISDN messages, made sure of the formatting of the numbers correctly, and one or two other misguided fudges. As it turns out, the customer had no idea they used carrier pre-select, which meant we had to prefix a number such as 1200 onto the front of the number before it got sent to the PSTN. We happened upon this luckily because someone happened to know a thing or two about how to get on the old PBX, and the 1200 number appeared quite a few times...
  • A nice discovery on a previous installation was that you could do a Call Forward All to literally XXXX. I'll talk about this in my next post.

So last installation to sort out! It's nice and complex which should be fun, and involves CallManager 6.0 Business Edition, a QSIG to DPNSS trunk, a Quescom GSM Gateway, and IPCC Express. Hooray!

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Mobile Device Manager goodness!

Usually i'd ignore Microsoft's emails that pop into my inbox but the latest one was a gem. They are introducing the new Microsoft System Centre Mobile Device Centre, which allows for excellent corporate control over Windows Mobile Devices which include remote wipe, remote restrictions of device capabilities (such as disabling Wifi, BlueTooth or the camera on the device), and it's all controlled through Active Directory policies.

What I found most interesting about the software was the new "mobile optimized" IPsec VPN connectivity that allows the device to connect to the HQ and allow the user to have access to "behind the firewall" services and applications. It's certainly no easy task at the moment to start using push email on these devices without accidentally putting a big hole in your security! For instance on our site, an engineer enabled access to our Outlook Web Access but also at the same time managed to allow unsecured access to Sharepoint because it was a Microsoft Small Business Server. This engineer was subsequently bundled into the trunk of a car and has not been seen since...

So the System Centre Mobile Device Manager provides a nice way of providing access to email through a secure VPN tunnel, and uses the following extra nice features:

  • Authentication
  • Session Persistence
  • Fast Reconnect
  • Internetwork roaming
  • Standards based MobIKE, IKEv2 and IPSEC tunnel mode

This software is out mid 2008 apparently, but at the moment only three devices are supported at the moment. I got all excited when I first saw this, but then realised the software isn't out yet, and my lowly Orange E650v isn't supported yet anyway...

  • TYTN II (Tilt)
  • Samsung i600
  • Palm Treo 750

Go here for the Microsoft site, and watch the Webcast!

Monday, 29 October 2007

DMA Aftermath - Part 2

Well today the customer went live and we ran into an interesting issue. When the phone is logged out of EM; attempting to sign in to Extension Mobility gives the issue "The user is already logged on". The only way to fix this was to delete the phone and re-add it.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Wow - TouchFLO "like" functionality...

It's time like these that i'm rather gutted that I don't own a touch sensitive SmartPhone anymore - I'll go back to one soon enough!

But anyway, msmobilenews has got a post on their site that tells of Touch Commander - an alternative to the TouchFLO interface found on the HTC Touch and Touch Dual. If anyone checks this out then don't forget to comment and tell us what it's like!

The aftermath of DMA

Another day, another dollar or so they say. Today we completed a migration of Callmanager 4 to Callmanager 5 using the DMA tool, with largely successful results. We did however, run into issues which caused the project to be delayed.

So what did we learn?

I tested using the DMA tool on a dummy system in our attempt to see what could break during the process - and during the process I found no problems. Great! What we didn't really bank on was some issues with the installation of CM5 with the real customer's DMA file. The problem that occurred caused the CM installation to crash and at first we thought it was a problem relating to delete.CSV being present in the DMA tar file; but using the tar tool to remove it didn't solve the issue. It turned out to be a problem relating to the new 7937 Cisco phone, and a typo in one of the XML files. We got Cisco TAC on the case and their brilliant engineers got us to the install day.

After the DMA had completed we did find several other (small) problems but were easily sidestepped:
  • It was impossible to delete some old device pools because the device defaults claimed they were assigned to the device pools- but they weren't...
  • The Subscriber is having problems replicating databases even though the system health check says all is well.
  • Various auto generated device profiles could not be deleted because they were assigned to phones that didn't exist.

Overall the whole process was very successful, but it took a while to complete and we came up against some problems which were definitely "show stoppers". DMA is a fantastic tool, but for all budding upgrades out there -plan, test, plan, test.


Thursday, 25 October 2007

Trouble with Asus R2H GPS?

If you're having trouble with the Asus's GPS system, this link might help out. When I get a spare moment i'll be trying this out.

Another problem with Mobility in CallManager 6.0 - Dual Mode Phones...

Bah another problem has reared it's ugly head...

In our office we have been successfully been using Dual-Mode mobile phones on our CallManager system. Basically this is either a Nokia E60 or E65 phone running SCCP software provided by Nokia, which uses Wifi to connect to CallManager. When calls come in to the DDI the Nokia has a shared line that also rings out at the same time so you can answer the call on either device - great so far!

The problem is that when the DDI gets called, it calls both the GSM line and the SCCP line of the dual mode phone at the same time - which is rubbish.

Documentation on Mobility at the moment appears to be incredibly poor. :(

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Cisco Mobility Connect in CallManager 6.0

Hoorah! Today I configured CallManager 6.0 Mobile Connect and it's a fantastic feature. When someone calls my DDI both my IP Phone and my Mobile Phone ring out, and I can choose to answer either. If I hang up on the mobile, I can pick up the call on my IP Phone without the call dropping, and should I choose to, I can transfer the call from my IP Phone to my Mobile seamlessly.


2 problems to take note of:

- The first problem is what you set on your mobile phone as your voicemail. My problem was that originally my mobile phone was forwarding to my IP Phone extension in the event of forwarding to voicemail. If someone calls the mobile it would go to my extension (and ring out if I was logged in, otherwise would go to my Unity VM).

Now what will happen, is that if someone calls my mobile, it will forward to my extension which is logged off, which will in turn call back my mobile in a sort of strange loop. A possible fix for this is to get Unity to recognise your mobile number as a number that can access your mailbox directly, and get the mobile to forward to a generic VM pilot number instead of your direct extension. I will update when I have a solution to this.

- Problem 2 is the obvious issue of timers between making calls and having enough time to answer them. Be careful with timers as it takes a while (A LONG time if you use a GSM gateway :D) to build the call to the mobile. By the time your mobile starts ringing the CM will already have reverted to VM!

The best guide (Which isnt very good) to setting this up is the Cisco SRND for CM6.0

The HTC Touch Dual - Can we do away with Wi-Fi?

After I wondered into my local Orange shop t'other day I took quite a fancy to the HTC Touch, even though I didn't get to play with the interface that everyone is raving about. So along with it's good looks, TouchFLO technology, rock solid Windows Mobile software and WiFi it would seem to have it all - right? For a person like me moving away from a E650 with a keyboard it would be a tough pill to swallow so the Touch Dual with it's keypad would at least soften the blow?

But wait! It doesn't have WiFi! Erm, hang on - when have I actually used mine?

There are no doubt people out there who just absolutely can't cope without it, but if Push Email is your primary concern then the addition of 3G will be welcomed (Though tbh, 3G in the UK is just rubbish), and if HTC couldn't fit WiFi into the phone then ok it's a shame, but i'm sure i'll manage without it. It sucks battery life anyway...

And besides, if you've got WiFi, you should be using a UMPC anyway as the screen on a mobile phone is just to small to be useful.

Though if we could get Dual-Mode working with SIP on the Windows Smartphones, i'm sure i'd change my tune...

OneNote Humour

I thought this was fantastic and was worth a repost:

Thanks to for digging it up, and the original site is here.

Sunday, 21 October 2007


Wow the next few weeks are going to be busy! I'm currently migrating a CallManager 4 platform to 5 (Which sadly involves Arc, Witness and Oak); installing a couple of new site's IPT for another customer (100+ phones, Unity Call Handlers and other stuff), and the rollout of CallManager 6 Business Edition + Mobility + Quescom GSM + IPCC Express + other rubbish for another customer.

I need a holiday!

P.S popped by the local Orange shop and got my hands on the HTC Touch - it's smaller and cuter than you think! I encourage anyone interested in it to go and get a hands on demo. Also I had a go with what looked like the TYTN II, with a hinged keyboard, but it could have been some other HTC device - there's so many I get confused!

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Probably the best thing i've ever seen...

Bison Camera for Asus R2H and Vista


I think where I was going wrong first of all that I didn't notice that there was two drivers available. The camera driver that matches my camera (V6.32.00.004 - 800k in size) still caused my PC to freeze when using the camera and also refuse to shut down. This driver is the one that contains the Lifecam utility that you had problems with Warner.

The second driver called "BisonCamInstall" weighing in at just over 4mb allowed the camera to work correctly and my Asus is still behaving itself.

In short, don't install the 1st driver - it doesn't seem to add anything useful and just causes more problems than it's worth.

R2H Vista drivers

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Vista opinions

Joe over at has put up the responses from readers about Vista here.

Personally I quite like Vista and as usual as an early adopter I may be putting up with more than I have to. Once you get UAC disabled though all is rosy in my opinion...

Beware users of UK Numbering Plan 27.0 !

If you're using UKNP 27.0 with CallManager 4.X then beware that this may give strange behaviour...

This Dial Plan was released primarily to add 075xx mobile numbers to the list of supported E.164 numbers of the dial plan; but has unfortunately exhibited strange issues with dialling out.

If you experience issues with ISDN Q.931 messages being returned on the gateway with either "No bearer channel available" or "Number not obtainable" then you may find that the dial plan is causing the gateway to send out incorrectly formatted Plan and Type fields. This can be remedied in two ways:

1) Change the "Called Party IE Number Type", "Calling Party IE Number Type" and both Plans under the Outbound Calls settings section of Gateway configuration page of CallManager to "Unknown" instead of "Cisco CallManager".

2) Add the following line to the serial0/0/0:15 interface:

isdn map .* plan unknown type unknown

As far as i'm aware, this patch has now been recalled and Cisco are working on a replacement.

Upgrading from Cisco CallManager 5.x to 6.x

Due to the fact that I have to roll out CallManager 6.0 for a customer in the UK before December this year we have now taken the plunge in the office!

Upgrading was a fairly simple matter - however (as usual) wasn't the same as the documentation described. Basically we were supplied with an upgrade disc and license PAK, with which you use to move to the new platform by way of a tar.gz file on the upgrade disc. Nicely, this had the big advantage of upgrading the CallManager server through the 5.1 GUI (in the same manner that you would any CM 5.x upgrade patch) and then simply rebooting into the new partition. All phones upgraded themselves - Robert's your father's brother. It wasn't quite as smooth as that though because our PAK code didn't work so we had to raise it on Cisco TAC.

So first impressions for me? Well the interface is a nice blue colour and the two great things about the 6.x GUI are the fact that the drop down box on the top right of the page now fits into a 1024x768 screen; and thankfully Cisco haven't moved things around too much - yay.

I think the first impressions were good as i'm used to the 5.x interface though those upgrading from 4.1 will find it quite tricky to navigate through for the first time.

The phones (when rebooting) now show the new Cisco logo as part of the device pack!

After the upgrade we did have a few niggles - the CM service stopped working and the service needed a kick; our MPE integration stopped answering calls because for some reason it had changed the Route List to something other than the MPE trunk; and Presence status stopped working in Cisco Unified Presence Server 6.0 and the server needed a reboot.

The only thing we haven't been able to fix is a service URL that's on everyone's Extension Mobility device profile to unlock the front door; which bizzarely has been replaced with the Extension Mobility service. In CallManager, the device profile shows the correct service URL applied to the speed dial but the phone shows otherwise. Removing the service URL and re-adding it before logging in/out of EM also does not solve the issue.

Update: None of the help pages work! They all give 404 errors - odd.

So that's the bad stuff. The good stuff is:

  • We now have syncronization between the Publisher and the Subscriber so that if the Pub goes down we don't lose functionality such as CallForward status, Extension Mobility, and others
  • We have mobility and single number reach built in! Also comes with new 'mobility' softkey
  • Improved SRST support
  • An intercom feature has cropped up in the list (woo!)
  • Directed Call Park has turned up
  • VERY IMPORTANT: Pickup Group Notification is back! It was missing from all CallManager 5 versions and in alot of instances this is a must have for customers!
  • Slightly improved BAT tool

I'll be configuring Mobility and Single Number Reach soon! More to come!

Monday, 15 October 2007

Microsoft SkyDrive

After reading this link on theinquirer I decided to give Skydrive a go. Even though SkyDrive is in Beta it was a nice experience in terms of sharing files with a simple UI , and now due to the free upgrade to 1 GB the service is now pretty useful as a storage resource that I would consider using on a daily basis.

The best thing that struck me about the experience was that as an MSN user I logged straight in using my Passport account - Ah if only other sites were that simple!

So all in all we're going to be using this at work more and more when VPN isn't available at customer sites and we need to exchange files. Just be aware that it's generally going to be used as a file repository for techies and it's not a replacement for Sharepoint!

Asus R2H and Microsoft ReadyBoost

My Dabs order of a 1GB stick of DDR2 667MHz SODIMM memory is still on it's way to me in the post so been as I got quite bored, and someone was popping down to the local CostCo, I thought it was a good idea to put in an order for some Flash memory! The Asus R2H has an inbuilt SD card reader; and any way of getting these boot times down would be worth a punt...

James returned to the office clutching a SanDisk Ultra II 2.0GB SD card, and a box of 48 Toffee Crisp chocolate bars (Don't ask!) - and I thought wahey! This device looks like it's the 'High Performance' version of Sandisk's SD cards! A stroke of luck indeed, considering it was the only SD card CostCo had in stock...

So with SD card in hand I thought I might give Microsoft ReadyBoost a go. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, it's a relatively cheap way of speeding up your system by using SD cards or USB memory sticks to "add" to the system memory available in Windows Vista. Obviously it's not going to be faster than adding standard DDR2 memory but at 9MB/s write and 10MB/s read speeds (60x and 66x speeds respectively) I thought I might see some difference.

Some websites such as Anandtech have seen small differences in performance on their systems but here are my results when I timed Windows booting up. My specs are as follows:

  • Asus R2H UMPC
  • 900MHz Celeron Processor
  • 768MB RAM
  • 60GB Hard Drive
  • Windows Vista Business Edition

Non-ReadyBoost Attempt 1: 1 minute 51 seconds
Non-ReadyBoost Attempt 2: 1 minute 48 seconds

ReadyBoost Attempt 1: 1 minute 52 seconds
ReadyBoost Attempt 2: 1 minute 57 seconds

Oh dear! My system has actually slowed down! Not quite the result I expected and suffice to say i'll be using the SD card for storage only in the future.

The Asus is not the kind of system that I would tend to heavily load (Such as using Photoshop with 22 photo's open at a time) or more than 4 Word documents open; so I chose not to run any kind of OS performance tests at this time. However in terms of perceivable difference in everyday operation/loading/closing of programs? None. Or negligable at best (Placebo effect?).

A shame really! I'll just have to hold out for that extra RAM now...

Cisco and their amusing marketing

I have to say that Cisco have done some rather marvelous (Though slightly woolly) marketing in terms of the "Human Network". The latest campaign shows how people in the movie industry use mobility to continue working efficiently.

Interestingly enough they use rebranded OQO2's in the video ;) See, I told everyone UMPC's are the way forward!

But that aside, it looks like Cisco will be pushing their Mobile products (for Blackberry at least for the moment) and I can't wait to get this software onto my Microsoft Smartphone. For some reason (When i've asked Cisco about this in the past) they seem to be very quiet on the Microsoft front; but what i'd eventually like to do is run SCCP/SIP software on my smartphone so that when I walk into the office my phone automatically associates with the wireless and I get dual-mode operation. We're already using this on Nokia E60 and E61 phones in the office and it works great :) But at least I can get Personal Communicator functionality on my Smartphone soon enough.

I can't wait!

To boldly blog...

Hello all!

... from ! This was mainly due to the fact that the page never got spidered; and therefore I was blogging to myself half the time. Thanks to the owner of the image above; I couldn't be bothered to do myself one.

Either that or nobody cares - which is also likely.

Let's get this party started!

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Camera woes...

Sadly the Asus R2H camera that Warner Crocker of didn’t seem to like, is also giving me jip.

If I install the drivers my MSN messenger refuses to load, and the PC refuses to shut down.

All else is well, apart from the GPS - maybe i should RTFM.

Monday, 8 October 2007

Lumping Vista onto the R2H

I took the plunge today and considering it’s now 11pm-ish, i’m still installing stuff on Vista - God damn it’s slow!

The experience in Vista doesn’t seem too bad though, with nice clean graphics (Aero doesn’t work - not that it’d be a good idea on this spec anyway…), and suprisingly speedy performance. I managed to successfully grab all of the patches from and after a few hours it was all good. Still have more to go though!

One amusing problem that keeps occurring is that the touch screen stops working - no doubt driver related.

Overall though things seem to be working better - the Bluetooth was picked up straight away; the wireless seems more reliable, and all the buttons work.

It still says “configuring updates” as we speak though. Lame.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Proud owner of an Asus R2H!

And yes, in writing this using handwriting!

Initial feeling is the coolness factor but I do have a few immediate gripes - what can I say I’m hard to please! But overall i’m rather stoked. I’ll be using this device in the future as the heart of some of my posts in attempting to use it in my arsenal of enhancing my productivity.

Plus I get to look so chuffing cool in front of customers - yay.

Initial bad stuff though:

Yes it is correct what everyone says, performance is not a strongpoint
With the extended battery on, battery life seems acceptable for my needs, but the device gets quite heavy after a while

I can’t seem to get Blue tooth or GPS working…

One of the buttons doesn’t seem to do owt

OK so a few niggles but largely i ‘m pleased. I got a DVD drive working with on external HD caddy so tomorrow i’ll be putting vista on. I only have 768 mb of RAM so it’ll be a bold move, but id like to try out Ready boost and a few other interesting things!

More to come…

Saturday, 6 October 2007

My Orange SPV E650 experiences

I love smartphones. I wish I could own as many as Stephen Fry, but I think that might be overdoing it! The devices i’ve owned include:
  • Orange SPV E200
  • Motorola MPX200
  • Orange SPV C500
  • Orange SPV M500
  • Orange SPV M600
  • Orange SPV E650

Wow - Orange certainly have had their money off me!

There were certainly alot of rave reviews about the E650 (Which is already being replaced with the newer version) at the time I purchased the phone. I liked the form factor (And was perhaps a little tired of the bulkiness of the M series range from Orange) and wanted to get my hands on Windows Mobile 6.0 because i’d hoped that it would have quite a few more improvements in terms of Office, Messaging and other funky little tools.

I soon found out that the majority of these ‘nice’ features were in the ‘Pro’ version of Windows mobile software, so the version I have is fundamentally inferior, and therefore loathsome.
My major gripe with the phone ended up being that it wasn’t the fairytale I expected it to be. Phone features such as RDP, Proper ink Notes, and the ability to easily turn GPRS off are gone. The T9 is so unintuative that I end up using the sidewards keyboard all the time (It’s a good job it’s there!), and build quality is also slightly suspect.

So all in all, this ‘geek’ phone has lost all of the major features that actually made it useful!
Major gripes:

Activesync is utter crap - it only seems to allow me to sync my exchange email, but not my calendar or contacts. I’ve never had a smartphone do this before but it seems that hardware resetting the device doesn’t solve the problem.

- RDP is missing - ok the screen’s probably to small anyway.
- T9 is awful.
- GPRS comes on by itself, repeatadly, and is somewhat cumbersome to turn off.
- The camera is still rubbish - when will HTC learn!
- The screen sometimes does odd things, and requires me to open and close the keypad to refresh the UI. Bizarre…
- I miss inking…
- I was just about to say that I couldn’t find Notes or Voice Notes at all, but it just appeared that Orange had moved the interface around. Annoyingly.
- There’s no MSN live package on here - Orange :s


- I can make calls
- The phone is small (ish)
- It still has that cool factor
- It has wifi! And SIP support! Sort of…
- Battery life is pretty good.

So if you’re really going to miss any of these features, this form factor is not for you! I’ll be going back to ink based products I think. That LG Pradary thing looks nice :)

Friday, 5 October 2007

OneNote blogs

OneNote is something I want to get into more and hopefully with the use of a Tablet device I can sell it into the business more - and generate more demand for Tablet based devices.

I did some googling regarding OneNote plugins and I came across this chaps site, and it seems pretty good for helping stay productive and leveraging the advantages of OneNote for business.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

The Asus R2Hv

Unfortunately for us Brits this seems an elusive product - and has tempted me to purchase from the States (Risking import duty ). It’s a real shame to be honest as it seems it is the ‘new version’ of the Asus R2H device and has better performance, better battery life, and it’s black… doesn’t seem to have any UK retailers listed that sell the device either which is odd - and therefore it does mean that realistically you’ll be paying the full price for the R2H over here knowing full well it’s an inferior product.


Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Picking the right UMPC for you...

So you decide a UMPC is for you - or you just want to try it out as a new gadget! It became apparent to me that there weren’t a great deal of sites out there willing to put all the device reviews together to give advice to consumers such as myself in terms of pro’s and con’s of each device option out there. While i’m the sort of person that looks as much he can at all the facts before making a purchase, I still appreciate a nice summary of what options there are out there from opinions of others who’ve taken the plunge. I’ll tackle the devices that grabbed my attention after I go over my requirements and hopefully you’ll see how I came to the conclusion of a device to purchase! This shouldn’t be used as a guide for yourself though realistically as you’e requirements are likely to be different to mine! I’ll put links to the guides I find useful at the bottom.


After using the Tablet PC I realised the following requirements:

Less weight! Holding a tablet PC like a notepad is terrible for arm strain - The C200 a prime example!

Better battery life! Ok this is a tough one for a UMPC as the architecture is shocking for battery life at present. BUT - Why have battery life sucked away driving a power hungry graphics card or CPU that’s powerful but generally gets used for web browsing?

Ink functionality! Nobody can deny the coolness factor of writing on the screen. The problem is that i’d like to do more inking in terms of notes at work, yet moving to a UMPC produces issues because as you’re probably aware - it’s a touch sensitive screen rather than a resistive pen, so leaning on the screen is likely to get ink all over the place - yuck!

Useable performance! While all the above device requirements are really important to me, there’s not much point if it takes 30 seconds to open word or OneNote is there? It’d be nice to watch DivX movies on it too…

Ok so with all the requirements set in place, let’s go over the devices that I have seen satisfactory reviews of:

Samsung Q1 and it’s variants: The Samsung variants did quite alot to confuse me and I found it difficult to find the variant I wanted to purchase on the Internet. The new version is the amusingly named Samsung Q1 Ultra Ultra Mobile PC. While it seems to have better battery life than it’s predecessors due to it’s new A110 processor, some silly bugger decided that an 800MHz CPU was a good idea and therefore this system is unusable for watching films on and will soon reduce most people to tears in the performance stakes. The other (older) variants are the Q1 and Q1P, which were big contenders for my purchasing decisions; and the reasons being that they had acceptable performance, acceptable battery life, good looks and there were plenty about on Ebay to get a decent price! The major problem was though was that the device has a soft screen which might well be a problem for inking alot - not great… Btw there are video’s on YouTube showing this device running FEAR! Let’s stay sceptical about that one for now.

Tabletkiosk eo: One of the first examples of UMPC’s on the market, and it shows! It seems to have ok performance from what many reviewers are saying; yet it suffers from horrendous battery life (I remember 1 hour 39 minutes being a number banded around…) and it looks like it was designed by a blind monkey. None around on the market either except for full price…

Asus R2H: Features a 1.3MP camera, Celeron 900MHz CPU (Oh dear?), and a GPS unit. There seems to be quite a few accessories out there for this device and also it’s fairly popular on Ebay. While the performance of this machine is likely to be pretty slow due to it’s processor, it does have a harder-touch screen, better for inking on. I am not likely to use the GPS function whatsoever, though it is a nice feature…

Amtek T700: Seems like a well rounded device overall, with snappy performance and average battery life. It has good looks too but it does have a soft screen…

Is it worth wating for new UMPC’s to come along? Up and coming devices include:

HTC Shift: Hugo Ortega got suitably excited about this device, and quite rightly so! It’s small, light and has a keyboard tucked tidily away into the small platform! The problems seem to be that it uses that same A110 processor as the new Q1Ultra, and that for me, it’s a little too small.
Amtek T770: Seems to be shaping up to be a well rounded device but doesn’t seem like anything special. The major problem is that I can’t afford £700 (at least) for a new device when at the end of the day it doesn’t get me much more…

So overall considering the features I require and from what i’ve seen in terms of hardware reviews I eventually settled for an Asus R2H for purchase, which is currently on Ebay sporadically or is on for a nice price of £599.99. The reason for choosing this device is that it looks really cool, feels light (Though apparently feels slightly heavier than a Q1), has a harder screen, and seems to be acceptable in terms of performance in all the video’s i’ve seen.

If you don’t want to pay alot for a UMPC then the Samsung Q1 is for you, and available on Ebay for around £450ish with a nice keyboard and foldaway case.

The eo is a bit of a dud really, stay well away!

The Amtek is a serious competitor to the Q1 but availability is scarce - I would guess just due to branding and marketing. Keep your eyes peeled for a cheap one out there!

The places I used for reviews were: - Awesome site for inkshows, just need a phat pipe for downloading the high res videos - Obviously… - Does rather nice reviews of all sorts of devices, and a good excuse for finding ways of spending money.

Sunday, 30 September 2007

UMPC’s - The quest for the ‘ultimate’ in mobility…

Well first things first - I sold my Acer Tablet C204TMi on Ebay for a rather paltry £570 and i’m now on the market for a UMPC - bit of a shame that I bought the unit for over £1200!
So why did I sell the unit? Or to put it more precisely - why did the device fail me so heavily?

As I began to use the device over the period of leaving Coventry University and settling in to ‘work life’ I probably bought the device a little to late as it would have been great for taking notes in lectures. The primary features I required at the time were that it was powerful enough to carry out fairly demanding tasks such as big applications; play some games (To try and tie off the wound of losing a Geforce 6800 based AMD gaming platform used to fund my resistive digitizer adventure), and of course that ‘wow’ factor of being able to tap on the screen.
All in all, the device was to heavy as a truly ‘mobile’ device, and it’s battery life to short to do anything remotely useful with it. One of the results of this was that the chaps at work didn’t wish to use my device as the weapon of choice for a wireless site survey and chose a (lovely!) IBM 12″ TFT tablet PC instead.

It also became apparent that I didn’t play games really anymore - indicated by the fact that i’m lending my Xbox 360 to a friend as mine had remained unplugged for quite a while. The tablet PC also therefore suffered the same fate and sat collecting dust in a cupboard in my house.
So if i’ve just sold this device then why am I considering a UMPC? I did some serious thinking about what I deem as ‘useful’ mobile technology and what it can do for me, rather than buying a device that can try and cover all bases and generally do it badly!

Come on Ebay! Find me a bargain!

Catch up post!

Wow it’s been ages since I posted up as there’s been lots going on - more info on that to follow! The main reason for posting up is as a few notes about my thoughts on UMPC’s, mobile phones and devices/technology in general that would help me to stay productive. I’ll divide these into multiple posts. I’m guessing largely at the moment i’ll be posting this to just myself - but hopefully someone will read this and comment!

Just as a quick point to note all is well at work and the workload is ever increasing! I’m taking a 20 minute break away from revising for CVoice to write this post!

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Busy Busy Busy!

Time to try and study for CCDA as quickly as possible so that when my new books arrive for CCVP I can get on and study. Had a chat with Simon in the office who felt that CCDP was a complete waste of time (This coming from an ex-Cisco employee) so CCNP is still something to seriously look at after doing CCVP! Argh - lots of studying to do.

Other stuff:
- Finally got tickets to Download!!!
- I appear to have become addicted to Facebook
- It’s my birthday soon, and I feel old…
- Off to Brighton, Altrincham, London and Scarborough for work - gah.

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Been a jettin'

Howdo folks,

Not many posts as of recent as i’ve been so so busy with customer projects. Managed to get everything installed up in Scotland (300 user phone system) and also off to Nottingham to Demonstrate integration between a DPNSS Siemens/Octel PBX system with a Westell converter and Cisco CallManager. Which was nice…

Other than that hoorah the sun is shining, it’s almost the weekend, and we won at football (15-14, close match!). Oh and there’s talk of a company car soon again which’d be rather nice.
Off to Northampton again tomorrow, then a nice relaxing weekend doing some studying.

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Next years love...

…has to be one of these:

Of course i’m just like any other and love my gadgets. However i’m trying my best to figure out a way of getting exactly the phone I want yet trying to find the tariff that suits me. I’m pretty happy with Orange but with T-Mobile offering phones like this it’s hard to ignore them (Plus the £7.50 a month unlimited Internet deal - woohoo I say).

I guess it’s unfortunately down to having two phones though, one for going out on the town (like a Motorola Razr that is just hidden completely) and one of these for work, business trips, car travel (It has GPS!), and a shed load of other things.

I can smell the burning cash already…

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

The tale of the mysterious DN numbers...

Today i’m having to deal with a bizzarre problem for a customer. They want Outlook Dialling using TAPI. Dead easy!
Or not.

This person who wants Outlook Dialling is finding that 37 CtiParkDevices are appearing in their list of Cisco Lines to Dial from, with DN numbers that don’t exist in CallManager (and never have done!). The icing on the cake is that the SEP line that they’re looking for to do the dialling is not in the list.
If I run Phone.exe (from the SEP line appears in the list and therefore demonstrates that: 1) TAPI is installed correctly, 2) All passwords and whatnot are configured correctly, and 3) The customer is not going mad.

WTF. If I fix it i’ll stick it up here.

Tuesday, 20 February 2007

When the CallManager went Pete Tong...


Well i’m on a customer site and the most bizarre things are happening. Essentially three different engineers have looked at the problem, and spent hours on it, to find that it’s still broken. We found that the Callmanager service was only running on the Subscriber so we kick started this off - but to no avail. Finally after a Publisher restart did the problem go away. However the other site that we added before this one in London is exhibiting the same problem, and wasn’t fixed by the reboot. Very strange…

Essentially it’s a dialling problem to do with picking the right route pattern. Whoever installed the original design in this centralised Callmanager cluster is just an idiot - where logged off phones have the Unrestricted Call search space on them so you can call anywhere from any logged off phone (Toll fraud anyone?), whereas when you log on, that’s where the restrictions come on…

Basically it’s a failed attempt to get the route pattern design correct so that employees can move sites and use the local gateway instead of their own gateway back at ‘home base’ ergo getting cheaper local calls. It’s all a very woolly subject that needs a darn good article writing about it. Watch this space.

Oh and i’m tired of travelling - in London at mo, Scotland Friday. Eurgh.