Saturday, October 13, 2012

Facebook Might be Adding an "I Want" button

So it looks like Facebook is moving forward with the idea of adding an "I Want" button.  The first I had heard of this was from an article posted on Forbes (see link below).  The author seemed to be really worried that Facebook's less than successful public trading performance is forcing them to really change their tone in a less than favorable way.

I read the article staying pretty neutral in my thinking and then moved on with my week.  It wasn't until later in the week when I was shopping on and looked up to notice that my wife had been browsing through Pinterest for the last 25 minutes that I realized the author's worry that Facebook is looking for it's users to pull out their wallets is way off.  The reality is we are already all consumers in some way or another and many of us rely on the internet to gain information for current or future purchases.

I have used Amazon for years to find things I knew I wanted as well as things I didn't even know existed.  I have also used their wish list feature for years.  Their wish list sharing feature has been more than helpful for me to find what other similar minded Amazon users were interested in as well.  In the last 6 or so years I have kept my wish list current on Amazon and not one person has ever purchased something off of it come birthday or Christmas time, but just like Pinterest it allowed me to keep a running list of links to items I had researched and would love to procure.  Had these lists and these links been more available on Facebook maybe they would actually have a better impact when it comes Birthday or Christmas time as these lists would be in exactly the right spot ... in front of my family and friends.

Whether or not Facebook actually starts looking to fulfill some of these purchases, like the article said they might be looking to do in the future, I think that the "I Want" button couldn't have a more natural place than on my Facebook page.  I remember Facebook coming out years ago saying they don't see themselves as competing with MySpace, but competing with the likes of Google by giving results that are personalized by your social circle.  Having an "I Want" button actually gives them that ability.  For example, if I was looking for a stereo reciever I would it would be REALLY helpful to me if my friends who are well versed in what's what in the Audio world had given some "I Want" tags on a few recievers for me to review.  Same would go for just about anything including digital cameras, baby strollers, kitchen appliances, etc.

I see massive benefit to this new button on Facebook both for me, and for Facebook and retailers as well.  With a large database of "I Want" demographic information Facebook could have much more targeted ads and drive revenue by giving retailers exactly the potential customer views they are looking for.  Not to mention the potential to try to consolidate ALL of these randome wish lists and gift registries that exist within individual retailer sites, and the potential to maybe tie these wish lists to facebook events.  Over the last 7 years I have been to a ton of weddings and baby showers, and this would have been an awesome feature to have instead of having to search around so much to try to find something my friend or family member said they wanted.  Not to mention what an excellent way to keep your finger on the pulse of what's hot on the market.  Instead of relying on the retailer telling me what's hot for kids this year ... which always felt wrong ... I get to know what actual consumers are looking to buy for their kids! 

In my mind this is Win/Win, and with so much that Facebook has actually done right (measuring their success by their massive popularity) it's hard to believe that Facebook would enter into something like this without keeping what their users will think in mind.  I believe that this will become the main place people will go to find products to purchase for themselves or others.  If you don't like Facebook knowing what you are interested in purchasing don't click the "I Want" button, just don't complain to me when you don't get what you want for your birthday!

Here is the article mentioned above that prompted my thoughts:

How to shutdown, or reboot, a remote Windows Machine

Need to shutdown a remote machine?  The fastest easiest way is to use the Shutdown command from a command prompt to open up the shutdown dialog. 

Use the /i switch to do so:
When you hit enter the Shutdown dialog will pop open.  Enter in one or more remote machines to shutdown or reboot, select the additional options, and then click ok:

It is also possible to run these same commands through a bat file or or command prompt without the need for the user interface.  Reference an earlier article I wrote about Shutting Down a Local Machine, or reference the Technet articles below.


How to shutdown local machine throuh a command prompt

Need to shutdown, or reboot, your pc from a command prompt?  Use the shutdown command!

To Reboot the Machine simply just use the /r switch:
   shutdoown /r

or to shutdown the machine use the /s switch:
   shutdown /s

This command works on all servers Windows 2000 and forward.  It also works for Windows 2000 pc's and newer.

Need more options?  Technet has a few articles that help you to logoff, restart, shutdown, hibernate, specify the reason for the restart or shutdown, etc.

Technet Links

Friday, October 12, 2012

View Server or PC information for local or remote machine

Ever need to quickly get detailed information about your local Windows PC or Windows Server.  The systeminfo command to the rescue.  With this command you can retrieve local or remote system info in just seconds either manually or programmatically.

Here are the basics:
systeminfo /s [remote server name]

This info can be extremely helpful when needing to view or send detailed info to a tech support person.  I have also used it built into a slick tool that pulls down network pc/server details into central database application.

Below is a TechNet article with more details if you need them.

technet article for more details:

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Windows 2008 R2 Server Hangs on Reboot

Have you noticed recently that your Windows 2008 R2 Server seems to hang or delay during the first logon after a reboot? 

Are you running a Windows 2008 R2 Server with backup software that leverages VSS snapshots.  Whether you are snapshoting VHD files, or Echange or SQL Server inside a Windows 2008 R2 server you could be at risk.

We battled this issue for weeks not knowing what the issue might be.  We first noticed it on our Exchange 2010 server which we have a backup process snapshoting using VSS several times a day.  The first time we noticed it the Exchange Server took about 30 mins to boot up.  We thought that maybe it was a dirty shutdown and the logs needed to replay or something.  Then the following reboot attempts over the coming weeks created longer and longer delays.

We worked with Microsoft Professional Services and then Premiere Services for many hours over several days to try to diagnose the issue.  We were sent from the Exchange team, to the Windows Server team, to the AD team, and even to their performance team and eventually it was by chance we found an article talking about this same issue. 

The article showed us how to clean up the issue and then prevent it from happening again as a two step process.  The long and short of it is that when using a VSS backup utility, such as Microsoft's DPM or Backup Exec, a snapshot of the vhd or volume is created and then reconnected to the server so it can clean it up before storing it away as a backup.  This second copy creates a record in the registry and acts like an additional plug-and-play device ... just like a USB stick or camera or something.  Every time you run your backup the registry hive increases, and every time you reboot your machine and logon the OS cycles through all of the plug-and-play registry records trying to reconnect or time-out.  The OS seems to work fine somewhere under 6000 devices, but we were sitting around 18,881 orphaned devices which was causing our huge delay as it waited to time-out on each device.

You can take a look at your registry to see if this might be happening to you.  Here is where I would look.  If you have a ton of records in these folders you may have an issue:
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Enum\Storage\Volume\
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Control\DeviceClasses\
Microsoft Hotfix (KB982210) was created to stop this creation of plug-and-play device records to be added to the registry, but it doesn't clean up any orphanded records that still exist.  To do that they released some code called DevNodeClean that you would have to compile yourself to identify and remove the records.  There are also sites out there that have done the compiling of this code for you.  We used the solution provided by Byte Solutions.

  1. Download DevNodeClean (this is the x64 version)
  2. Open a command prompt with elivated privledges and navigate to the folder you downloaded the application to.
  3. To see the list and a count of the phantom devices run DevNodeClean.x64.exe (this won't remove anything)
  4. To remove phanom devices run DevNodeClean.x64.exe /r (for 18,800 it took about 90 mins)
  5. Once you have removed the phantom devices then download and install Microsoft Hotfix KB982210

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Blog created to serve as a collection of online notes as well as to provide more breadcrumbs for helpful topics that may be difficult to find.