Sunday, April 27, 2008

We want to keep XP!

Oh my gosh, how can I get together all of my friends, relatives, customers, and everyone that they know? If I knew it would mean Microsoft's continued support for Windows XP, I would personally organize a bus trip to Redmond and camp in front of Steve Ballmer's office with everyone I know, and everyone that they know. Everyone will have to kick in for the bus, though, I'm not THAT generous!

Okay, since you all aren't exactly beating down my door wondering when the bus leaves, maybe try sending an e-mail to Microsoft's Steve Ballmer at If your e-mail doesn't get through, then leave a response on my site, and I'll try to figure out another way.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Installing Peachtree Accounting 2008 Server in a Headless Server

For those of you who aren't in the know, a headless server is a server without a keyboard, monitor, and mouse. Instead, you manage it using Microsoft Remote Desktop (RDP). If you call up a remote desktop on your Windows 2003 server and try to install Peachtree 2008, it will fail, saying it cannot be installed from the Windows Terminal.

Instead of dragging out the monitor, keyboard, and mouse, using your Remote Desktop download and install RealVNC or some other VNC app if you don't like that one, and set it up as a server. Close the Remote Desktop Session. Now, fire up yor VNC client, sign into your server, insert the CD, and feel the joy!

Friday, April 18, 2008

EARTHQUAKE! Armageddon in Illinois!

Well, I just felt another trembler - a bit exciting as we don't get these much here in St. Louis! I remember these happening as a kid when I lived in San Diego. I would imagine that my friends in Indiana and Illinois are feeling as giddy as I - will these occasional minor trembles keep up? Will they get worse? I sure hope not - the Earth used to be nice and quiet here in the Heartland, I wish it would stay that way!

Now, after that last trembler, I was looking at the USGS's Latest Earthquakes page, and kept on refreshing it. Wow, I'm watching the news, and the newscaster said that he had the magnitude at the same time it came up on this page. An interesting fact: There are earthquakes as strong as we've had around the world EVERY DAY.

Another interesting earthquake site is the IRIS Seismic Monitor, it gives a nice world map with visualizations of recent seismic activity.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Terminal Server 2003 Printer Fallback Drivers

So I have a customer that uses a terminal server to share a clinical and financial app between forty or so users. Some, when printing in landscape mode, get the right 1/4 inch or so cut off when prionting reports. I could print fine using an Apple printing to a Lexmark All-In-One, and the programmers could print OK using a Windows client printing to a Laserjet 5, but my friends with Laserjet 1300 series and some others get cut off.

Looking into it, I found that some clients were printing using the HP Deskjet 500 PCL drivers, but we have no Deskjet 500's in use, so where did this come from? Well, Microsoft quietly delivered a feature called "Fallback Drivers." So instead of trying to download the drivers from the client computer, it says, "Ooooh, you have an HP, let's just use the Deskjet 500 drivers." Well, this doesn't work so well under some circumstances.

Doing some further research, I found the page How Microsoft's Windows 2003 SP1 Fallback Printer Driver Works (which now supports color!), which clearly and concisely explained what is going on, but not necessarily how to fix it. But he pointed me to some new registry keys that could prove useful.

I downloaded and installed HP's Universal Print Driver, then added the following registry key under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server\Wds\rdpwd

String value FallbackPclDriver with the value HP Universal Printing PCL 5.

Reboot your server, and it prints AOK from ANY HP printer.

Note added 10-Apr-08 - this driver seems to consume a lot of time before allowing print dialogs and properties to be displayed. I downloaded the x64 version as I'm running a 64-bit server 2003, but during one particularly spectacular crash, I noticed that some 32-bit processes related to the HP Universal Print driver were to blame. This begs the question: "Are the x64 versions really repackaged 32-bit drivers with a wrapper?" That would explain te performance hit and the crash message (shoulda wrote it down - I'll have to check the logs). I'll keep you updated!