QETECHTHE IT INSPECTOR


ABOUT THE IT INSPECTOR


Quinn FidlerThe IT Inspector

  • 15 years in the IT hot seat
  • Technical expertise in networking, servers, security and software
  • Managerial expertise in budgeting, supplier management, setting up new contracts, staff line management, recruitment
  • Employers include: BT Global Services, RM, Northumberland County Council, NCFE, TSG
  • Experience handling multiple sites and customers
  • Cisco CCNA
  • Microsoft IIS, TFS, Active Directory
  • QA-IQ Project Management
  • QA Microsoft Project
  • ITIL v3
  • VMWare Setup and Management

INSPECTION & REVIEW


  • Technology Audit
  • Interviews with your staff, suppliers and customers
  • Contract audit for your hardware and software
  • Conversations with your IT suppliers
  • Contract reviews
  • Industry best practice benchmarking
  • Recommendations

CONTRACT MANAGEMENT


  • Cataloguing and managing your existing contract portfolio
  • Identify active contracts
  • Identify the people responsible
  • Create a database of contracts, people, and schedules
  • Create a timeline for contract review, supplier review, and renewal
  • Create a supplier management process
  • Benchmark existing contracts against current industry norms
  • Working with your suppliers to get the right contracts for you
  • Not being oversold or undersold on level of support, level of cover, and response time
  • Making sure you get the right kind and number of licences
  • Making sure contract terms and lengths are appropriate to your needs
  • Getting the right SLAs for your business
  • Helping you specify exactly the right type of hardware (servers, firewalls, printers)
  • Helping you to spend the appropriate amount of money (not too much, not too little)

IT SUPPPORT


  • Triage being the point of contact for non-core technology (telephones, mobiles, security systems, point of sale, credit card machines, website designer, finance software)
  • Liaising with your suppliers to ensure hardware repair is done correctly and quickly
  • Making sure the site is secure (antivirus, firewall, antispam, passwords)
  • Working from home, holiday or anywhere else
  • Bringing broken or faulty PCs back to their working state
  • Supporting new staff to get straight to work (new users, new hardware) and managing existing users
  • Keeping your Internet connection up by working with your suppliers to fix faults quickly
  • Making sure staff can securely scan and print what they need, when they need, where they need
  • Restoring your lost or broken files from backups
  • Managing email addresses, distribution lists, and spam filters
  • Setting up, updating and upgrading software and making sure everything talks to each other properly (Sage=>HMRC, website=>email)
  • Database maintenance

PLANNING


  • Working towards standardising (PCs, software, and branding such as fonts and email signatures)
  • Seamless entry and departure for staff (new user policy, leaver policy, integration with HR)
  • Choosing the proper cloud, Internet and file transfer strategies
  • Building an appropriate backup and restore plan
  • Disaster recovery planning
  • Structuring company data for the right people to access to the right files
  • Working with your staff and suppliers to get the right advice strategy in place (security updates, software changes, compliance)
  • PCI, ISO 9001, ISO 270001, and industry specific compliance
  • Office moves, setup of new sites, connectivity between sites and buildings
  • Internet connection sizing
  • Rural connectivity planning
  • Cabling surveys
  • Creating maintenance plans for databases, planning database structure

ABOUT QETECH


  • Established for 3 years
  • Profitable in every year
  • Increase in turnover in every year
  • More than 25 active customers
  • Multiple local, national, and international partnerships with technical suppliers
  • Customers in public, private, education, and charitable sectors
  • Most of our customers have between 15 and 250 users
  • Based in Whitley Bay and active across the UK, and around the world

OUR CUSTOMERS



Storey Communications SCL Nine Works PMHE Scott Bros Ltd Norseman Travel Newcastle University

NEWS


BT FTTC/FTTP/Infinity PPPoE with your own equipment

BT Home/Business hubs are dreadfully underwhelming for the SME or home power user.

Unfortunately, there is a lack of up-to-date documentation on the Internet for configuring one’s own equipment. The obvious answer (and technically BT supported one) is to use the BT hub in bridge mode. I’m not a massive fan of this set up due to the extra complexity of the hub (even if the features aren’t in use).

In the good old days BT used to supply those lovely shiny, white, Openreach modems which presented the Infinity connection on Ethernet and you could pretty much throw anything at it and it would connect. More recently they have integrated the VDSL modem with the Home/Business Hub so you can’t as easily bypass it. There are options, such as Vigor 130 modems, or integrated VDSL routers (the TP-Link N600 springs to mind) along with all of the higher-end gear from the usual suspects.

Replacement routers/modems will still need some configuration but most information I have found online so far has been around the home user market. This tends to have one connect with standard settings, at best you will be getting your default route from PPPoE. They will often suggest using homehub@btconnect.com and a password of “bt” to connect which will usually work out of the box, but will not allow advanced configurations such as static IP blocks.

After an unusually competent chat with BT support (and spending hours thinking we had our IP block wrong) it turns out that one DOES need to log in with the correct credentials for the account in question. This does make sense really, as it should help prevent anyone else being able to spoof your IP block.

To connect happily with PPPoE (today’s site has FTTP so we were connecting their ASA directly to the FTTP modem) one simply needs to use the xxxxx@hgxx.btclik.com and their password. You might need to get the correct password for that service from business support but it only took me 10 minutes on the phone to sort this whole thing out (compared to 40 minutes on web chat for them JUST to confirm the assigned IP block!).

With a bit of luck this might help someone else out there some day but questions or hints in the comments will be most appreciated and this article will be updated to reflect changes in the future.

Correct as of publishing on 08/04/2015

tl;dr use the proper account credentials xxx@hgxx.btclick.com for PPPoE connections on Infinity etc.




Excel and moving your documents folders

Something worth watching out for when you are moving user folders around:

The default save locations in Office usually point to the My Documents folder but some of them use subfolders. If you are doing any work on the user data that moves the whole subtree into another directory or subfolder it can break your user data paths in Office. Word isn’t usually too bothered but Excel can have a bit of a hissy fit over it.

Unfortunately, if you DON’T notice that distinction when you mess with My Documents you can get yourself a recurring error message every time you try to open an Excel file from Windows Explorer. Which is what I have been working on this afternoon.

The error message “Windows cannot find ‘FilePath\FileName‘, Make sure you typed the name correctly, and then try again.” manifests with exactly the same details as in KB211494 so if you are still having the problem after you have told Excel to ignore DDE applications just check your file save paths. You might be able to turn DDE back on and save yourself some bother in the future!

TL;DR check file save paths in Excel after moving My Documents around




Apple TV and lost purchases

Well, it took a day or two of troubleshooting but I finally solved an issue with an Apple TV losing purchases!

Situation:

Apple TV 3rd Gen, several purchases (some free, some paid) and all have been accessed several times. The user also has several iPhones and iPads. After running the latest update to the Apple TV they kept receiving the message “You have not purchased any TV programmes”.

Solution:

On a normal computer, open iTunes and, on the menu bar, go to Store => View Account. Select the link to “Manage” “Hidden purchases”. Then, unhide anything you actually want to see.

Analysis:

There are many other discussion forums talking about this (and very similar) error messages. They present a variety of troubleshooting options (see below) but I haven’t yet seen any that give this solution. It would seem that something happens in the update sequence that hides viewed TV shows/movies that are marked as viewed on the ATV. If this actually is the problem that others are experiencing it has been happening for a while. Without seeing it happen to others I can only assume that it is an intermittent problem for it not to be discussed further and/or for Apple not to have fixed it.

Other steps:

None of these fixed the issue but might be worth trying if the steps above do not resolve the issue:

Check your time zone and location/language settings in the General menu
Reboot everything (as ever)
Delete and enter your iTunes username and password again
Wipe and update the ATV
As I mentioned, none of these solved my issue and other than the first two they are a bit invasive so do try my solution posted above, followed by these.

Has anyone else experienced this problem? Any other symptoms or fixes? We would love to hear from you!




iOS 7 is out…

Just been taking a quick look at the changes in iOS7 on the iPad Mini.

First impressions are mixed. I’m not a huge fan of transparency effects or all the animations we get for everything (it feels like a waste of effort to me) since they don’t age well, as devices get bogged down with updates over time these pretty effects can be the most obvious things to slow down (and slow the device as well!).

I do like the new control centre though, it’s nice to finally have all the key interfaces in one place. I imagine the new notification centre will be an improvement too.

I am planning to downgrade the old iPad 1G to an older iOS and see if it is still usable, it will be interesting to compare such different generations. That’s for a later post though.








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