Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Screen Resolution - Whats that?

While working with web pages for my business, Ledyard Consulting and having friends test them, I often get reports back that they can't see a part of the web page and have to use their scroll bars to see the complete page. There is a simple solution to this and that is changing your screen resolution.

A non-technical explanation of screen resolution would be it is what makes your letters and words look large or small but gives you less or more viewing room. A low-resolution would mean not much space to view things like when you look at a web page it cuts graphics off on the left side and bottom. Though the bottom is always cut of no matter the resolution, you can improve the right side. A high-resolution would mean you can see more of the page with out having to scroll so much.

When you look at web pages and find that you can't see very much of the content of that page without using your bottom or side scroll bar, then maybe you should try changing your screen resolution.

Your screen resolution can easily be changed by right clicking anywhere on your desktop. Let me give you the quick guide.

1. Right click on the Desktop
2. Click on Properties or (Vista) Personalize
3. Click on Settings Tab or (Vista) Click on Display Settings
4. Screen resolution slider click and hold and drag

After you right click on the Desktop you will see a menu come up. On the menu you will click on "Properties". If you use Vista you can click on "Personalize". Now you should see a window with tabs if you are using XP click on Settings. In Vista you will see a list and you will need to click on "Display Settings". After clicking on "Settings" or "Display Settings" you should now see a window and in that window in the bottom left area you will see a slider. If you click and hold on that slider you can change your display settings by moving the slider to the left or to the right. A good setting to start out with is "1024 by 768" and and then you can increase it by going to "1280 by 1024". What this does for you is gives you more room on your desktop. You can see more of the web page or more of the document that you where working on.

Now sometimes people say,"My screen is too small. I can't see anything". There is a program that you can use but I have never liked it. It is a magnifier. If it is installed you will find it by going to "Start", "All Programs", "Accessories", "Accessibility" then Magnifier. Check it out maybe you will like it.

By John Ledyard
Ledyard Consulting
Computer, Network and SQL dB consultant
Elk Grove, CA

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Data Center Water Incident

The False Sense of Security

When I worked for an association I had an experience I will never forget. I was the IT Manager and I managed a network with several servers. The servers where kept in locked cabinet inside a data center with raised floors, power conditioning, temperature and humidity control and a Halon fire suppression system designed to suppress the fire with out damaging your computer systems. So basically this room was engineered with protecting computer systems in mind giving me a false sense of safety.

One morning when I was getting ready to go into work I received a call that the server was down. When I entered the office area just out side the data center I noticed that the ceiling tiles had collapsed onto desks and all over the floor. It was then explained to me that water was leaking from the floor above. The floor above had an instant hot water heater installed in a kitchen area for the tenants in that section of the building. It had burst and sent water spewing for hours before it was noticed. The water had made its way through the foundation and was leaking to the floor below. Outside of the data center there was lots of damage but inside if the data center that housed the servers there was only two panels that collapsed. One on top of my desk and the other right on top of the, that’s right, the cabinet that housed the servers. No where else in the entire room was there more water leaking then right where the cabinet stood. The water made its way into the cabinet and traveled to the 4th server in the rack and took it out.

The server that was affected was a very robust server designed to be redundant in most all its hardware. The server had 4 drives and was using a striped configuration. To our best efforts we could not get the system back online after the system was dried out of course. The Raid controller was damaged by the water among other unknown components.

To top it all off the backups where not being done because we where still awaiting approval of the expense to correct the failing backup drive. We did have a backup form Friday before but this happened on Wednesday. So my supervisor the accounting manager who had no experience in IT matters, decided to send the drives away to see if we could get them recovered against my recommendation to just restore from the backup we had and have accounting input in the work that they had done from the missing days. The total missing days were 5 working days. Which I found out later would have only taken them about 16 hours to input back in the lost days plus days that we where down because of the damaged server.

So what is the lesson in all of this? Make sure you have a good disaster recovery plan for your company. Insure that your backups are working and please expedite requests for backup drives and tapes from your IT staff.

John Ledyard

Ledyard Consulting

New Blogger

Well I thought I would give blogging a try. I decided that I have some great stories I could share and well maybe a blog would be a great place to do it. So with that I will post this and then start putting some stories up.