Archive for May, 2011

New Toy #2 – Solmeta N1

I decided to get a GPS for my Nikon D3100 because having to remember where pictures were taken is very helpful.  I had a bunch of pictures taken on my iPhone from a few scooter rallies I attended and they all look the same because the pictures were taken at a campground with a bunch of scooters.  Having the “Places” tab in the Photo section of the iPhone really helped me remember which rally the picture belong to.

I did not get the GPS that Nikon offered (Nikon GP-1)as it was a little over $200 and the GPS unit was powered by the camera which made me a little worried that I may run out of battery to take pictures.  There were a few 3rd party GPS units that I read about and compared and I was torn between 2 – the Solmeta N1 and the blueSLR.

The blueSLR was really cool because it was just a bluetooth receiver that can talk to your iPhone to get the GPS coordinates.  The thing I like about using the iPhone as the GPS is that it is pretty accurate because not only does it get its coordinates from the satalites, but it can get the coordinates use Wi-Fi based location which means you can get the coordinates while indoors!  The only thing I did not like about it is that the unit was connected to the side (which can be good because it’s not obvious that it is there) and I was worried that there may be too much stress between the unit and the connector that is keeping the GPS in place.

The Solmeta N1 was just like the Nikon GP-1 where it sits right on top of your camera and is connected to the GPS via cable.  The big difference between the N1 and GP-1 is that the N1 has a built-in rechargeable battery so it doesn’t drain the battery from the camera.  It was about $100 cheaper than the Nikon and for $50 more than the N1, I could have gotten the N2 that tells me the direction I am facing, but I didn’t think I needed that.

Now to see how accurate the GPS is, I decided to take some pictures with the GPS outside my house and then a picture where the parking lot is.  I do have to say, it did a pretty good job at pin pointing my location.  Now I just need to find a cooler photo site that shows you the map and thumbnails of the location on the map of all the pictures I’ve uploaded.

Here’s a sample picture taken with map location:


Active Directory Trust Issues

In one of our computer classroom (VMH 2203), we have deployed Windows 7 computers with Active Directory.  The reason I decided to put Windows 7 in that room is because those were brand new computers and I couldn’t get XP working on those machines for some reason.  It was so long ago that I think it may have been driver issues.  I had to also have those computers authenticate using Active Directory instead of Novell because I couldn’t figure out how to get the UMD Gina to run on Windows 7 in a short period of time (1 week to get an image working for that lab).  That was our first public deployment of Windows 7 with Active Directory authentication.

It worked great until probably December when one of the computers started getting trust issues.  I spent 2 weeks removing that computer from the domain and rejoining it and nothing would work.  It was horrible troubleshooting the issue because it was only doing it on 1 computer.  If it was an image issue, it would have happened on all the computers in that room.  The worst part was that I couldn’t troubleshoot until there were no classes in there which meant Monday – Thursday after 5pm or all day Friday.  I eventually gave up on it and decided to come back to it at a later time as I had to start working on the new Citrix portal.  There was 1 other report that another computer was having the same issue in that room.  So as of Winter term, only 2 computers were not able to log in.

Two days ago,  I decided to approach this problem again, thinking that maybe there was some hotfix that I needed to install, and there was!  The hotfix required me to replace a file on the vDisk image that the desktops were using.  After I did that, I went back into that room and removed the computer from AD again and rejoin.  It failed :-(.  I sat there thinking about what else could be the issue and decided to just log into all 20 computers in that classroom to make sure the rest works.  OMG!  I found 5 more computers with the same trust issue!  How long were these extra 5 computers down?  Did no one report the issue during the semester or did it JUST break after the Spring semester was over?

I went back to my office to do more research and there was a forum post about adding a certain item to the Group Policy.  I also started fiddling with the Provisioning Console and found this feature to delete computer account and add computer account to the domain.  So I decided to make the changes to the Group Policy that the forum post states I should make, delete the computers that were having the issue via Citrix Provisioning Console (instead of thru the AD server), and then added those computers back and crossed my fingers.  And it WORKS!

So the moral of the story is – I hate Windows!


My New Toy

Taken with an iPhone 3GS


I bought a new DSLR yesterday for my Europe trip that I’ll be taking in 2 weeks.  I’ve wanted a camera that can take really nice pictures in low-light settings and I think having a DSLR camera will make it possible.  So far it’s pretty good, but I need to play with it more.

Taking pictures with an iPhone are OK, but not great.  As you can see the picture above, it’s pretty grainy.  Now here are some sample pictures taken with the Nikon D3100:

Front Focus - Nikon D3100

Back Focus - Nikon D3100

I messed up on the focus for the last picture, but you can guess what I was trying to show.  I can’t wait to start taking more pictures with this camera!


Smith IT Get’s Bump… As Usual

The School Assembly took longer than expected and since we were last, we got bumped.  At 3:02pm, Ernie asked for 3 minutes of the audiences’ time to quickly let them know that the portal is NOT going away.  He did not have time to demo it because it seemed to me that people cared more about the ice cream that was being served afterwards than what we have to show.  I was told that we always get put at the end of the assembly and people at the beginning always take more time than usual so we end up getting bump.  No love for I.T. as usual.


New Citrix Will Be Demo at School Assembly

I’m excited and nervous as Ernie will be showing a demo of the new Citrix portal tomorrow at the School Assembly.  It is one of the projects that I’ve been working on and was started from scratch.  Most of the other stuff I’ve worked on is something I’ve taken over and was started by someone else.  I am hoping that the school will notice the big improvement on the new Citrix compared to our current one.

The other agenda that we will be talking about at the School Assembly will be Gartner and Panopto.  Gartner is the new research portal that Holly will be talking about and Panopto is the lecture capture software that a few professor have been using for a few months now.

I hope people will enjoy our presentation and will be excited about what we have as we are!


The Math Behind Gas Prices and Cars

My husband and I were having a discussion about gas prices and cars over the weekend.  He kept making fun of me because when I get my car, I will be paying for Premium gas vs paying Regular gas for his car.  I told him that I will be spending less money on gas on my car because it has better mileage and he didn’t believe me so we sat down and did the math.

Taken from

Now I’m going to be nice and take the Combined EPA MPG of both vehicles instead of the Highway.  Let’s see how much it will cost us to buy 300 miles worth of gas.

Honday Element

300 Miles / 20 MPG = 15 Gallons * $4.09 Reg. Gas = $61.35

Audi A3

300 Miles / 24 MPG = 12.5 Gallons * $4.39 Prem. Gas = $54.88

So even though I am paying more for premium gas, it will still be spending less money on gas than him.  😉


How Dual Monitors Affects Citrix Seamless Apps

I’ve been going crazy for the last few months trying to figure out why all the apps on the new Citrix server has been displaying the server background on any application that is in Windowed mode and the bottom is being cut off.  Today I finally found the correct solution/workaround to the issue.

Dual monitors are supported in Citrix… only if you have it setup in a certain way.  I use a Macbook and use the laptop screen as the primary monitor and another Dell 20″ LCD monitor as my secondary monitor.  The LCD is located behind my Macbook so I set the desktop to have the LCD above my Macbook.  But when I do that, I see the background of the Citrix server on the application I launch and the bottom of the application gets cut off.

LCD monitor on top, Macbook display on bottom You can see the server background on the top and the bottom is cut off

A post I found on Citrix forums states that the montiors needs to be set side-by-side.  So I made that change and it works!

Changed dual monitor settings to have monitors side-by-side Now it looks better!

It’s hard to say if it’s a Citrix issue or a Microsoft Windows issue.  But hopefully, not too many people have a dual monitor setup like me.


Car is Ready!

My husband just got a car from our Sales Associate letting us know that the car has been built and they got the invoice for it :).  That’s just in time for our 30-day pre-pickup deadline to pay.  I’m just waiting for a call from the SA to see if we can come on Friday or Monday to pay for it.

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