2016-06-18 DSC vs. GPO vs. SCCM vs. MDM

Microsoft Windows administrators now have a number of ways for managing their estates. Group Policy (GPO) Allows very fine-grained control over every aspect of Windows. Primarily aimed at Windows desktops. Requires Active Directory (AD) and very careful configuration. Requires well trained specialist staff to get it right. System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) Allows central control over software delivery. Also requires AD. Configuration of delivery packages can be complex and very careful change control is required.

2015-11-29 Mosquitto MQTT Server on a Raspberry Pi

To access an MQTT broker direct from the browser, you need websockets support. On a Raspberry Pi, this used to require a custom build from source. That is no longer required. You can now install direct from the repository and add a simple config change. This article explains the details.

2015-06-05 A simple mail filer for Microsoft Outlook (VBA)

Like many people I receive an unmanageable amount of email each day. Many days I get through only around 1⁄3 of the email I receive. However, the role I am in professionally requires me to retain a large proportion of correspondence. Some because it relates to ongoing projects, other because of security, audit or compliance reasons. In addition, I work across many projects. It isn’t unusual for me to be involved in two dozen projects at any one time on top of my day-to-day management work.

2015-01-30 Home Automation Hub using Node-Red

The Internet of Things (IoT) comes alive with the help of Node-Red, a Flow-Based Programming (FBP) tool designed to help link together sensors, switches, logic and displays. With hardware magic from Arduino's, Raspberry Pi's, low cost sensors and wireless switches. We can easily build a bespoke home automation and monitoring hub.

2014-06-27 Outlook 2013 URL Protocol Handler

Outlook has a custom URL protocol that allows interaction with different elements such as folders, mail and calendar items and contacts, Since Outlook 2007, this has been restricted for use only within Outlook itself but there are some tremendous opportunities for use from simple web systems. This post explains how to turn it on, even for Outlook 2013 (Office 365 version). It also gives pointers to other articles on how to use the protocol.

2012-09-12 Microsoft 64-bit Application Support (lack-of)

Microsoft's 64-bit support is still sorely fragmented as we find out with a brand new laptop trying to access Microsoft SharePoint.

2011-12-23 Low-cost Information Management, Communications and Collaberation Tools

Although much of the work I do is for very large organisations and extremely costly projects, being an adopted Yorkshire-man, I’ve always an eye open for a bargain! More seriously, there are many small to medium sized businesses and charities that cannot afford big IT budgets but that still are crying out for good information management, communications and collaboration tools. In this article, I’ve tried to highlight a few tools that I think are worth looking at.

I’ve not included anything in this article that requires a monthly or annual cost. All the tools here are available for free at least with limited features. The feature lists given are for the free versions with paid-for key features noted where appropriate. I also note if any of the web sites are blocked by typical enterprise firewalls.

There is a lot more than what I’ve shared here, I’ll try to update this article from time-to-time.

2011-11-11 Enterprise System Design and Accessibility

Most web designers are well aware of the need to design with accessibility in mind and that this is a legal requirement in many countries.

Not so many IT architects and designers who deal with internal, enterprise systems are aware, though, that these laws and requirements also apply to internal systems.

Recently I’ve yet again seen a number of dreadfully designed user interfaces (UI) for enterprise systems that most certainly don’t meet usability standards let alone accessibility standards!

2011-10-16 Apple iOS 5 and iCloud, The verdict

So I’ve been using iOS 5 on both iPad 1 and iPhone 4 for a couple of days now and I thought I’d follow up on my previous post about what I thought would impact me.

2011-10-05 Apple iOS 5, What does it change for me?

There are some really nice looking changes on the way for Apple mobile users lucky enough to have a device that can be upgraded to iOS 5. I thought I’d throw together a quick look at how this will change things on a practical level for me as I use an iPhone and an iPad for work and personal use.

Update: 2011-10-13. I’ve added some more details.