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Dell Webcam Central in Windows 7 64bit Latitude E6400

I run Windows 7 on a Dell Latitude 64-bit E6400 notebook. It’s nice, but one thing Dell doesn’t provide is a software suite to run your webcam. I mean, the webcam works, but going to Cameroid.com to take snapshots isn’t my idea of easy to use.

A quick view to the Dell Community Forums turns up much of the same complaint as I have – the camera driver works, but there’s no built-in software for videos or snapshots.

Fortunately, I rolled up my sleeves and figured it out.

I downloaded the version of the Dell Webcam Central software that most closely matched my system – the version for 32-bit Vista. When I ran this installer, it tells me that it can’t detect my web camera and aborts the install.

Well, no big deal. I have free, open source WinZip replacement 7-zip. Right-mouse click on the installer, choose 7-Zip >> Extract to DellWebCamSW and extract the .exe file. Open the DellWebCamSW folder, and you’ll see another folder called DWCentral; open it and run setup.exe. It should install with no problem, and you can run the Dell Webcam Central (again).

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Student Wireless Bandwidth

Earlier this week, we purchased additional bandwidth for the student wireless network. This is good news! Here’s why.

During Nov & Dec 2009, we max at around 50 students using wireless between 8am and 1pm. The wireless network gets exactly 10% of all campus bandwidth, or 1024 Kbps.

1024Kb ÷ 50 = 20.5 Kbps per student

Remember 56k modems? This is less than half that.

Further, the number of students doing high-bandwidth activities such as peer-to-peer filesharing, flash video from sites like YouTube, or personal file cloud-based backup software (like Carbonite) consumed an unfair amount of the network.

Earlier this week, we doubled the student wireless bandwidth – to 2048 Kbps – and introduced some filtering software to discourage those high bandwidth activities. The result is a much improved, usable wireless network for students. We’ll continue to work on the system with an eye towards making it more useful.

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Wireless Access on Campus

UPDATE 2 (12:54 PM 11/19/2009): We’re back up, but expect a few more short term outages before we’re ‘officially’ back up with wireless. Thanks!

UPDATE: Looks like our new controller arrives today via FedEx.

We had a storm Monday night that took out power and internet to the campus. Although we had power restored early that morning, and internet was restored by noon, wireless access has still not been restored. We expect to have wireless access 100% functional by Friday, Nov 20th.

Wireless on campus is controlled by an Aruba controller, which suffered a blow to the power supply during the storm. Since this is a non-serviceable part, we’re in the process of exchanging the entire controller for a new one. After we receive it, we’ll need to put our configuration on the controller, and run some tests to make sure it’s functioning normally. Assuming it is, we’ll turn it on as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, we’ve posted some signs in the major areas on campus where wireless is accessed letting people know it’s not currently working.

Sorry for the inconvenience! We’ll get it back up as soon as we can.

Posted in Hardware, News.

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Running Novell under Win7 with XP Mode (to get to that IPX stuff)

I’ve been using Windows 7 for a while now, even though it doesn’t get released publicly until Oct 23rd 2009 or so. Still, it’s been a mostly pleasant ride.

Today, I’ve been exploring using the XP Mode that comes with Windows 7. XP Mode is well explained by Raphael & Paul, which basically explain that its XP running in virtualization mode under Windows 7.

What I’d initially missed is that it lets you run applications and hides the XP VM in the background. So I set out to run Novell in Windows 7 this way.

  • You must have a CPU that supports virtualization
  • Install Windows 7
  • Install Virtual PC RC (link here)
  • Install Windows XP Mode (link here)
  • Boot into XP Mode, & install Novell client (I used the 4.91 version, since that’s what my campus uses)

At this point, I noticed that the Novell Client now appears in my Start Menu list under XP Mode Applications. So I booted back into the XP VM, and unzipped the Novell Console One app.

Another reboot, but ConsoleOne wasn’t showing up in the Start Menu. Until I moved the shortcut into the Start Menu under Novell. Then I shutdown the VM, and checked my Win 7 Start Menu again. Voila! It’s there now.

But you can’t natively browse Novells shares in Windows 7. So I dragged a shortcut to the XP Mode “My Computer” icon to the XP Mode Start menu under Novell (Common).

It worked. It’s more like a peek into the XP machine, though – there’s no drag & drop between windows, an apps installed on Win 7 (MS Office, for example) can’t access XPM files – you’d have to install Office on the XPM machine, for example.

But now I can browse Novell shares and admin the Novell directory from Win7. It’s not fast, but it beats running another system.

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Creating Chokermail Accounts

Welcome to all students back to GHC for the 2009-2010 year. Over the summer, we chose to give a little more to our Chokermail email program. We’ve got more work to do, but here’s what we’ve come up with so far. Current students:

  • More storage in Chokermail. Start with 5 GB, and watch your storage grow, as you need it.
  • More themes in Chokermail (including some that change based on time of day or weather)
  • Quickly add maps, directions, movie times and more to e-mail messages. It makes planning a night out so much easier.
  • Create e-mail signatures in HTML. Get as fancy as you want to be.
  • The People page has been re-organized.

If you’re a new student, in addition to all that jazz up top, you have a new way of creating your address. Visit http://chokermail.ghc.edu, and click Get Started. After your address is confirmed, you’ll be able to log in. As always, I’m here for your feedback and to help with any problems you might run into.

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Exchange 2003 IMF / SCL numbers explained visually

I’m a visual thinker, so the last time I needed to see clearly what effect my changing of the spam confidence levels (SCL) in Exchange 2003′s Intelligent Message Filter (IMF) could have, I penned it out. A quick scan later, maybe it can help you, too. I’ll certainly reference it again.

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AMP Font Viewer

I’ve been using AMP Font Viewer lately to manage my fonts in Windows. It’s not Font Book, but it does let you manage fonts by categories, and install / uninstall fonts on demand. It backs up uninstalled fonts so you can see them easily. It’s nice.

download via ampsoft.net @ Font Viewer

found via lifehacker.com

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Glary Utilities

Lifehacker recently pointed out Glary Utilities, and they’re right – it’s a fabulous, and free, way to clean up Windows startup items. To get there, go to the 1-click maintenance tab after installing it. Check only the boxes on the things you want to run, and then click Repair Problems. Repeat as necessary.

Posted in Software.


All Campus Day & the Electric Lunch

We had an interesting event on campus last Friday. For students, the campus was closed. For staff, admin, and faculty, we were in a self-hosted conference all day focused on technology.

We had two basic tracks that boiled down to two things: web 2.0 tools for use in instruction, and Office 2007. I taught a 30 minute class on calendaring and invites in Outlook, and that was fun.

But the real joy was Eric Waterkotte. Not the artist, but the eLearning guy. He came and gave a presentation on blogs, wikis, social bookmarking, social networks, twitter, et al. Nice stuff. Excellent presentation. Eric lives in Port Angeles and works as an instructional tech / eLearning course designer at Peninsula College.

The conference piqued the interest of lots of folks around here, and we even had another group sign on to the blog system I put in place a year+ ago: blog.ghc.edu/spc, our Strategic Planning Committee group. I had another request from an instructor as well, and it’ll be interesting to see how this works out in our culture here.

One idea Eric brought from Peninsula was the idea of the Electric Lunch. For the record, I like this idea. Lots.

Basically, it’s an informal lunch to discuss technology, emerging or no, in a free form style. Eric hangs out and fields ideas. I think this is awesome. I would love to have something like this here, maybe monthly.

Posted in Events.

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MS Access 2007 and the network .MDB file

Before I start, I want to clear the air – I know all about using front-end and back-end MDB files. I co-wrote a high-availability EDI app for a prominent paper industry manufacturer in Access, with integration into Sterling Commerce’s Gentran EDI server. That application would simply have not worked without an FE/BE design. I’m also not talking about all the little spots where you can specify exclusive open access. I’m assuming you know about those already, or your diligent Google searching wouldn’t have brought you here.

But what I want to post about, in order that it helps others, is using just a plain ol’ .mdb file on a network share. The problem is when someone has it open, and anyone else goes to open it, it doesn’t do anything at all. Double click, no response.

The problem is Access 2007. Don’t believe me? Have multiple machines open the file, machines where Access 2007 has never been installed. Access 2003 will handle this just fine.

Still don’t believe? Convert the file to .accdb, and have multiple Access 2007 computers open it. No problem!

Access 2007 does something different when it opens a file, and it can’t see the ‘shared’ mode for opening when you do it across the network. I’ve seen a few posts that mention solving this by installing Access on the file server itself, but I don’t like that idea. Not for my file server.

Do try this at home. There’s your explanation, in spite of the compatibility between Access 2007 & previous versions. Unless a patch comes out and fixes it.

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