Creating Email Filters in Google Apps

It can be tough to keep track of the dozens of emails we receive each day, and important messages can easily be lost in the more routine emails the inundate our inboxes.  In Gmail or Google Apps, you can create an email filter to automatically “Label” or categorize messages, and have them bypass your inbox.   For this TechBlog Post, I am going to focus on two categories of email I receive a lot of each day:  First, Groupon, Living Social, and Google Offers.  I don’t want to disable these notifications, but I do want them to bypass my inbox where I can review them later.  Second, my school’s listserve, […]

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Zoho Creator – Custom Cloud Database Applications!

We’ve recently tried our hand at devleopment using Zoho Creator, a cloud-based custom database platform. Creator is an example of Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), providing all of the nuts and bolts to create a customized series of forms, views, and reports that fit your internal business workflow. For us, that workflow was tracking tickets in our Baltimore Computer Repair Shop at 1414 Key Highway. Since day 1 we’ve experimented with numerous systems, including OSticket, WordPress Ticket plugins, MerchantOS’ (cloud based Point of Sale) built-in workorder system. As with most “off the shelf” products, each is great at a particular workflow model, but falls short in at least one area. For example, MerchantOS […]

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Home Energy Monitoring

I’ve recently been testing a few products that allow you to see your household energy usage in real-time.  There are numerous possibilities for remote monitoring of household energy data, as well as home automation (think being able to control lights and your thermostat from an iPhone app!). The latest test-drive was a product called the Power Cost Monitor by Blue Line Innovations.  It is an outdoor reading unit that you attach to your power meter with a hose clamp.  It can read live energy usage on almost any meter, and in my case it is reading invisible infrared signal blips.  BGE (Baltimore Gas & Electric)  installed a fancy new meter […]

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Windows 7 Malware on the Rise

Gone are the days of super-vulnerable Windows XP computers requiring constant babysitting, maintenance and cleanup. (well, mostly gone, we still see a few here and there). While there was definitely a lull of malware and virus removal after people started moving to Windows 7, we have started to see the trickle of infected Windows 7 Machines slowly increase. This image shows a piece of Malware called “System Fix”, which prevents the user from doing much of anything on the computer, and constantly warns them through pop-ups and taskbar notifications that there is something very wrong with their computer. Next they will try to get you to purchase software to address […]

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Laptop Power Jack Replacement

We receive a lot of calls in the shop for broken power jacks on laptops.  While many jacks can stand up to a lot of abuse, when you trip over your power cord, drop your laptop from the bed or sofa, or otherwise subject it to forces or angles it wasn’t designed for, you could end up breaking the power jack.  In most cases, this can be a death sentence for your computer, as replacing the power jack will involve an intricate and risky procedure that involves dismantling the entire computer, desoldering the broken jack, and re-soldering a new jack. These repairs fall under our “advanced” flat-rate bench fee of […]

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Network Camera Demonstration

  The video feed you see above is streaming live from a Network Camera installed on a construction site in Baltimore, Maryland. Network Cameras offer powerful remote monitoring capabilities, and can be easily viewed in a web browser from anywhere in the world (yes, even on mobile devices!). Note: This model of Network Camera streams in MPEG-4 format, and is best viewed in Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome. We’ve been installing network cameras for surveillance of construction sites for years, giving General Contractors a great way to keep “eyes-on” at sites that may be located across town or across the country. Requirements: To install a network camera on your location, […]

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A New Addition to the Fleet

We’ve added another vehicle to the fleet! Our friends over at Sign-A-Rama Federal Hill did an outstanding job applying Vinyl Lettering to our new Honda Element.  We’ve also used Sign-A-Rama’s professionally-installed vinyl lettering on our shop windows, and they were an excellent resource for the all-metal sign above our entrance.

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How to remotely uninstall software?

There’s a lot of times when you just want to uninstall a piece of software without interrupting the end user, but unfortunately there isn’t an easy, out of the box way to do it. To uninstall software on a local machine without any user interaction, you would do something like this: msiexec.exe /norestart /qn /x {2902F983-B4C1-44BA-B85D-5C6D52E2C441} The last part, after /x is the GUID of installed software. To find out the guid on remote software, download this script from here and run this command: cscript /B SwInventory.vbs RemotePC > RemotePC.txt Open RemotePC.txt and look for GUID. Next you need PsExec from SysInternals. This tool will allow you to run commands on […]

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Clearing Hundreds of Duplicate Events from a Google Calendar

The infinite loop gremlin strikes again! We deploy Google Apps for many of our clients. One of the big reasons we push it, is because without any extra servers, services, or expensive add-ons, it will sync email, contacts, and calendars beautifully with virtually any mobile device. iPhone, Android, or Blackberry, your Google Apps data will sync everywhere! However, there exist a few pitfalls that can lead to circular syncing. The best way to configure a Blackberry for Google Apps is via Google’s Apps… one for mail, the other for syncing contacts and calendars. The alternative is to configure an account the way you would any other on the blackberry, by […]

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Data Closet Organization

The server room or data closet can be an intimidating place, especially if multiple tenants in a single building are sharing infrastructure. Over the years, technicians from the phone company, cable company, WISPs, phone system installers, network technicians, CCTV, Access Control, Security, and Fire Alarm companies come in to patch connections, and install boxes and cabling. These technicians generally want to get in and get out and move on to the next job. While there are standard practices for labeling and organizing cables of all varieties, sometimes they just aren’t followed and a rat’s nest develops in the wiring room. The more organized everything is, the easier it is for […]

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