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Recommended private “Heartbeat” configuration on a cluster server March 20, 2010

Posted by John Ruby in Microsoft KBs.
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Recommended private "Heartbeat" configuration on a cluster server
Recommended private "Heartbeat" configuration on a cluster server

Communication between Server Cluster nodes is critical for smooth cluster operations. Therefore, you must configure the networks that you use for cluster communication are configured optimally and follow all hardware compatibility list requirements. For networking configuration, two or more independent networks must connect the nodes of a cluster to avoid a single point of failure. The use of two local area networks (LANs) is typical. (Microsoft Product Support Services does not support the configuration of a cluster with nodes connected by only one network.)

At least two of the cluster networks must be configured to support heartbeat communication between the cluster nodes to avoid a single point of failure. To do so, configure the roles of these networks as either "Internal Cluster Communications Only" or "All Communications" for the Cluster service. Typically, one of these networks is a private interconnect dedicated to internal cluster communication.

Additionally, each cluster network must fail independently of all other cluster networks. This means that two cluster networks must not have a component in common that can cause both to fail simultaneously. For example, the use of a multiport network adapter to attach a node to two cluster networks would not satisfy this requirement in most cases because the ports are not independent.

To eliminate possible communication issues, remove all unnecessary network traffic from the network adapter that is set to Internal Cluster communications only (this adapter is also known as the heartbeat or private network adapter). Clustering communicates by using Remote Procedure Call (RPC) calls on IP sockets with User Datagram Protocol (UDP) packets. The process described in this article:

  • Removes NetBIOS from the interconnect.
  • Sets the proper Cluster communication priority order.
  • Sets the proper adapter binding order.
  • Defines the proper network adapter speed and mode.
  • Configures TCP/IP correctly.
  • Disable the Media Sense feature (in Windows 2000 only).

Note The information in this article does not apply to Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2 failover clusters. Implementing these recommendations on these versions of failover clustering can cause adverse behavior. Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 failover clusters do not have to have a private heartbeat network and the networking settings in this article are not needed and may cause unwanted behavior.

MORE INFORMATION

Recommended configuration for the private adapter in Windows 2000 and Windows 20…

Recommended configuration for the private adapter in Windows 2000 and Windows 2003

  1. Click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click Network and Dial-up Connections.
  2. On the Advanced menu, click Advanced Settings.
  3. In the Connections box, make sure that your bindings are in the following order, and then click OK:
    • External public network
    • Internal private network (Heartbeat)
    • [Remote Access Connections]
  4. Right-click the network connection for your heartbeat adapter, and then click Properties.

    Note You may want to rename this connection for simplicity (for example, rename it to "Private").

  5. Use one of the following procedures:
    • If the server is using a quorum type other than Majority Node Set (MNS), click to select Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), and then click to clear all other options.
    • If the server is using a MNS quorum, click to select Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and at least one other file-sharing network protocol, and then click to clear all other options.

      Note If the server is using a MNS quorum, you must have at least one network that has file-sharing capabilities for the MNS quorum to function. We strongly recommend that you have multiple networks on the cluster that have file sharing enabled to avoid a single point of failure for the quorum resource.

  6. If you have a network adapter that can transmit at multiple speeds, and the adapter can specify a speed and duplex mode, manually specify a speed and duplex mode.

    With network adapters that can manually specify a speed and duplex mode, make sure that you hard set them to the same on all nodes and according to the manufacturers’ specifications. For network adapters that do not support manual settings, follow the card manufacturer’s specifications.

    The information that is traveling across the heartbeat network is small, but latency is critical for communication. If you have the same the speed and duplex settings, this helps to make sure that you have reliable communication.

    If you are not sure of the supported speed of your card and connecting devices, or your manufacturer’s recommended settings, Microsoft recommends that you set all the devices on that path of 10 MB/Sec and Half Duplex. This configuration will provide sufficient bandwidth and reliable communication. For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

    174812  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/174812/ ) The effects of using Autodetect setting on cluster network interface card

    Note: Microsoft does not recommend the use of any type of fault-tolerant adapter or "Teaming" for the heartbeat. If you require redundancy for your heartbeat connection, use multiple network adapters set to Internal Communication Only and define their network priority in the Cluster configuration. Issues seen with early multi-ported network adapters, verify that your firmware and driver are at the most current revision if you use this technology.

    Contact your network adapter manufacturer for information about compatibility on a Server Cluster. For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

    254101  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/254101/ ) Network adapter teaming and server clustering
  7. Click Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), and then click Properties.
  8. On the General tab, verify that you have selected a static IP address that is not on the same subnet or network as another one of the public network adapters. An example of good IP addresses to use for the private adapters is 10.10.10.10 on node 1 and 10.10.10.11 on node 2 with a subnet mask of 255.0.0.0. If your public network uses the 10.x.x.x network and 255.0.0.0 subnet mask please use an alternate private network IP and subnet. For more information about valid IP addressing for a private network, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    142863  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/142863/ ) Valid IP addressing for a private network
  9. Make sure that there is no value set in the Default Gateway box.
  10. Verify that there are no values defined in the Use the following DNS server addresses box.

    Note If the cluster nodes are also DNS servers, "127.0.0.1" is displayed in the Use the following DNS server addresses box (the box will not be blank); this is acceptable.

  11. Click Advanced.
  12. On the DNS tab, verify that there are no values defined. Make sure that the Register this connection’s addresses in DNS and Use this connection’s DNS suffix in DNS registration check boxes are cleared.
  13. When you close the dialog box, you may receive the following prompt. If you receive this prompt, click Yes:
    This connection has an empty primary WINS address. Do you want to continue?
  14. If you are using a crossover cable for your private heartbeat interconnect, disable the TCP/IP stack destruction feature of Media Sense.

    Note Do not perform this step on a Windows Server 2003 Cluster.

    To have us disable the TCP/IP stack destruction feature of Media Sense for you, go to the "Fix it for me" section. To disable the TCP/IP stack destruction feature of Media Sense yourself, go to the "Let me fix it myself" section.

    Fix it for me

    To disable the TCP/IP stack destruction feature of Media Sense automatically, click the Fix this problem link. Click Run in the File Download dialog box, and follow the steps in this wizard.

    Fix this problem
    Microsoft Fix it 50316

    Note this wizard may be in English only; however, the automatic fix also works for other language versions of Windows.

    Note If you are not on the computer that has the problem, you can save the automatic fix to a flash drive or to a CD, and then you can run it on the computer that has the problem.

    Now continue to the next step.

    Let me fix it myself

    To disable the TCP/IP stack destruction feature of Media Sense add the following registry value to each node:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip\Parameters

    Value Name: DisableDHCPMediaSense
    Data Type: REG_DWORD
    Data: 1

    For more information about this, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

    254651  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/254651/ ) Cluster network role changes automatically
  15. Complete the previous steps on all other nodes in the cluster.
  16. Start Cluster Administrator.
  17. Click the cluster name at the root of Administrator. On the File menu, click Properties.
  18. On the Network Priority tab, verify that the private network is listed at the top. If it is not, use the Move Up button to increase its priority.
  19. Click the private network, and then click Properties.
  20. Click to select the Enable this network for cluster use check box.
  21. Click Internal cluster communications only (private Network).

For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

281662  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/281662/ ) Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2003 cluster nodes as domain controllers

Recommended configuration for the private adapter in Windows NT 4.0

  1. Click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click Network.
  2. On the Protocols tab, click TCP/IP Protocol, and then click Properties.
  3. In the Adapter box, click the private network adapter.
  4. On the IP Address tab, verify that you have selected a static IP address that is not on the same subnet or network as another one of the public network adapters. An example of good IP addresses to use for the private adapters is 10.10.10.10 on node 1 and 10.10.10.11 on node 2 with a subnet mask of 255.0.0.0.
  5. Make sure that there is no value set in the Default Gateway box.
  6. On the WINS Address tab, click the heartbeat adapter in the Adapter box.
  7. Verify that there are no values defined for the WINS server entries.
  8. When you close the dialog box, you may receive the following prompt. If you receive this prompt, click Yes:
    At least one of the adapter cards has an empty primary WINS address. Do you want to continue?
  9. On the Routing tab, verify that the Enable IP Forwarding check box is cleared.
  10. Click OK.
  11. If you have a network adapter that can transmit at multiple speeds and can specify a speed and duplex mode, manually specify a speed and duplex mode.

    With network adapters that can manually specify a speed and duplex mode, make sure that you hard set them to the same on all nodes and according to the manufacturer’s specifications. For network adapters that do not support manual settings, follow the card manufacturer’s specifications.

    The information that is traveling across the heartbeat network is small, but latency is critical for communication. If you have the same speed and duplex settings, you can help make sure that you have reliable communication.

    If you do not know the supported speed of your card and connecting devices, Microsoft recommends you set all devices on that path to 10 MB/Sec and Half Duplex. This configuration provides sufficient bandwidth and reliable communication. For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

    174812  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/174812/ ) The effects of using Autodetect setting on cluster network interface card

    Note Microsoft does not recommend that you use any type of fault-tolerant adapter or "Teaming" for the heartbeat. If you require redundancy for your heartbeat connection, use multiple network adapters set to Internal Communication Only and define their network priority in the Cluster configuration. Issues seen with early multi-ported network adapters, verify that your firmware and driver are at the most current revision if you use this technology.

    Contact your network adapter manufacturer for information about compatibility on a Server Cluster. For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

    254101  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/254101/ ) Network adapter teaming and server clustering
  12. On the Bindings tab, click All Adapters in the Show Bindings For box.
  13. Click the plus sign (+) next to the adapter used for the private interconnect.
  14. Click WINS Client (TCP/IP), and then click Disable.Note No protocols other than TCP/IP should be enabled on the heartbeat adapter. Verify that all others are disabled (including such items as Network Monitor).
  15. In the Show Bindings For box, click All Protocols.
  16. Click the plus sign (+) next to TCP/IP Protocol.
  17. Make sure that the public network adapter is the first binding (at the top of the binding list). To do this, click the private network adapter and use the Move Down button. If you have multiple public network adapters, make sure the heartbeat adapter is listed last. For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    193890  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/193890/ ) Recommend WINS configuration for Microsoft cluster server
  18. Click OK to finish modifying the network properties and accept the changes.
  19. Reboot the node for the changes to take effect.
  20. Complete the previous steps on all other nodes in the cluster.
  21. Start Cluster Administrator.
  22. Click the cluster name at the root of Administrator. On the File menu, click Properties.
  23. On the Network Priority tab, verify that the private network is listed at the top. If it is not, use the Move Up button to increase its priority.
  24. Click the private network, and then click Properties.
  25. Click to select the Enable this network for cluster use check box.
  26. Click Internal cluster communications only (private Network).

For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

281662  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/281662/ ) Windows 2000 cluster nodes as domain controllers


APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Datacenter Server
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Enterprise Edition

iDirect Satellite Internet Plans – U.S. & Canada March 16, 2010

Posted by John Ruby in *New Products.
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Satellite Internet Plans – U.S. & Canada
United States & Canada Satellite Internet Plans

Enter the World of Premium Satellite Internet from Ground Control where high-speed, low-latency, net-neutral, application tolerant, VPN optimized, highly predictable connections are standard. Learn why professionals and organizations upgrade their satellite service with us. more

Service Areas: United States (current page), Canada, Central America & the Caribbean.

 Galaxy 18 iDirect Plans
 Plans
 (Fixed or Mobile)
  Transfer Speeds
  (download x upload)
In-Plan Monthly Transfer Out-Of-Plan
Overage Costs
Monthly Price
(USD)
  Why is "Premium Satellite" more expensive than Hughesnet or Wildblue? Answer
  iDirect 3GB   3Mb Down x 1Mb Up 3GB per month $0.19 per MB $399
  iDirect 9GB   3Mb Down x 1Mb Up 9GB per month $0.14 per MB $599
  iDirect 12GB   3Mb Down x 1Mb Up 12GB per month $0.14 per MB $849
  iDirect 15GB   3Mb Down x 1Mb Up 15GB per month $0.14 per MB $1199
  iDirect 20GB   3Mb Down x 1Mb Up 20GB per month $0.12 per MB $1999
  iDirect 30GB   3Mb Down x 1Mb Up 30GB per month $0.10 per MB $2899
  iDirect 40GB   3Mb Down x 1Mb Up 40GB per month $0.10 per MB $3899
  iDirect
  Emergency
  2Mb Down x 1Mb Up Includes 10 – 24 Hr. periods unlimited use per month Add’l days billed
at $59 per day
$250
  iDirect Unlimited   64 x 64 Kbps
  128 x 128 Kbps
  512 x 256 Kbps
  512 x 512 Kbps
  768 x 768 Kbps
  1024 x 512 Kbps
  1544 x 512 Kbps
  2048 x 512 Kbps
  2Mb Down x 1 Mb Up
Unlimited
Usage

Unlimited
Usage

$215
$419
$1063
$1460
$2059
$1963
$2582
$3047
$3668
  iDirect X2   6Mb Down x 2Mb Up Most Plans Above See Link Info Link
  Video Streaming   1.7 Mbps max upload Unlimited for 24 hours n/a Info Link

Alternate Network Routing – Satellite As A Backup March 16, 2010

Posted by John Ruby in Solutions.
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Alternate Network Routing – Satellite As A Backup
Network Redundancy Using Satellite

Satellite As A Secondary Network Connection
Flooding, fires, hurricanes and numerous other disasters can knock out a primary data line for hours or days. With satellite, it is possible to maintain a high-speed connection when disaster strikes.

 

The instant your primary provider fails, the satellite connection will automatically feed your local network transparently. When the primary connection returns, the satellite reverts to a sleep mode. Consider it a cost effective network insurance policy to maintain business continuity.

Simple Integration
Ground Control will work with your IT department to merge a satellite system into your existing network structure. Many routers already have the ability to perform a failover to a secondary network connection.

Case Based Solution
Consider having a portable Case-Based mobile satellite system and store it until you require it. This solution is easily mounted on a roof of a building, or on top of a vehicle roof rack. more



24-Hour Monitoring

The instant the satellite network goes offline (or back online), an email or SMS message can be generated and sent to any party to inform of the Network outage. Otherwise, with the transparent nature of the satellite network, you may never know your primary provider is down and needs to be contacted for repair.

Installation Support
Our certified satellite installers throughout the world can install the equipment normally within two weeks, (or sooner if requested). Our support team will help you configure your router or asses your dual-WAN setup needs.

Ongoing Support
Besides your account representative at Ground Control, our 24 x 7 U.S. based technical support team is available to help you around the clock for any issue you may be experiencing.

Compare MED-V and App-V and Decide which is Right for You March 16, 2010

Posted by John Ruby in Solutions.
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Compare MED-V and App-V and Decide which is Right for You
Compare MED-V and App-V and Decide which is Right for You

MED-V Benefits
The key benefit of MED-V is that it helps enterprises deal with incompatibility between applications and the operating system. For instance, if a user needs to run an early version of Internet Explorer and that version of Internet Explorer is not supported on Windows Vista, the administrator can use MED-V 1.0 to deploy this early version of Internet Explorer to the user as part of a Windows XP virtual image. (And when MED-V 1.0 SP1 becomes available in Q1 of 2010, the user will be able to do the same thing on computers running Windows 7.) The user can then have two copies of Internet Explorer running simultaneously on his desktop—the most recent version (running on the host computer) and the earlier version (running in the MED-V workspace). From the user’s perspective, both copies of Internet Explorer appear as if they were running on the local computer. MED-V does this by allowing users to run legacy applications within a virtual machine that has an earlier version of Microsoft Windows installed. The user can then access these applications either from a virtual desktop (as with Virtual PC 2007 running natively on a system) or by using application windows that are seamlessly integrated into the local desktop of the user’s computer (similar to RemoteApp in Remote Desktop Services).

MED-V Usage Scenarios
The key usage scenario for MED-V is resolving application-to-operating system Incompatibility to accelerate the upgrade path to a new operating system. Businesses that need to continue to run legacy line-of-business applications on users’ desktop computers can do so by using Virtual PC. Incompatibility between legacy applications and newer versions of Microsoft Windows can often be a primary blocking issue preventing an enterprise from upgrading to the latest version of Windows, such as Windows Vista, to take advantage of the many new features and enhancements offered by this version. By delivering those applications in a Virtual PC that runs a previous version of the operating system (for example, Windows XP or Windows 2000), MED-V allows administrators to break the tight dependency between a computer’s underlying hardware and the operating system, and it can help remove such blocking issues so that your users can benefit from having the latest version of Windows deployed on their desktop computers. From the user’s perspective, with MED-V, these applications are accessible from the Start menu and appear side by side with regular applications—so there is minimal change to the user experience.

App-V Benefits
Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) also helps enterprises handle application compatibility issues, but it addresses challenges differently than MED-V does. Specifically, App-V lets you resolve conflicts that arise between different applications or different versions of the same application; MED-V, on the other hand, allows users to run older versions of Microsoft Windows concurrently with the local desktop of their computers, which can help with issues where legacy applications are unable to run natively on the most recent version of Windows installed on the user’s computer.

App-V Usage Scenarios
App-V supports a wide range of different usage scenarios, ranging from a full application virtualization infrastructure to a lightweight infrastructure to standalone deployment. Specifically, App-V supports the following usage scenarios:

  • Full Infrastructure This scenario uses the App-V Management Server, which provides full streaming capabilities, Desktop Configuration Service, active/package upgrade, and basic licensing and metering. This infrastructure requires Active Directory and SQL Server and is an update to the existing SoftGrid Virtual Application Server that version 4.2 customers are familiar with using.
  • Lightweight Infrastructure This scenario uses the App-V Streaming Server, which includes streaming capabilities such as active/package upgrade without the Active Directory or SQL Server requirements. However, it does not have a Desktop Configuration Service or licensing or metering capabilities. This service relies on the manual or scripted addition of a manifest file for virtual application configuration. The Desktop Configuration Service of the App-V Management Server can also be used in conjunction with the App-V Streaming Server such that the Management Server configures the application but the Streaming Server delivers it.
  • Standalone mode The App-V Sequencer has an option to create an .msi file that automates the addition of the virtual application. The .msi contains metadata so that an ESD system can recognize it and control the virtualized applications. Standalone mode requires the App-V Client to go into Standalone mode, which allows only .msi-based updates of the virtual applications. (Streaming is not allowed while in Standalone mode.) This mode is meant for rarely connected users that need the power of virtualized applications but do not have access to a server.

How to build a Simple IE8 Accelerator – Guy Burstein’s Blog March 16, 2010

Posted by John Ruby in Solutions.
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How to build a Simple IE8 Accelerator – Guy Burstein’s Blog
How to build a Simple IE8 Accelerator

This post is a step by step guide for building IE8 Accelerators.

A Short Introduction to IE8 Accelerators

Accelerators are used to make the user more productive while surfing the net, by:

1. Speeding up the process of getting additional information about a meaningful string (address, stock quote, a product, a twitter account name, etc). In this sample

2. Allowing user to perform a quick action on a selected text.

From a technical perspective, Accelerators define 2 actions: Preview and Execute. When the user selects some text and hover over an accelerator, the Preview action is being performed – the selected text is sent to a defined url, that returns a 320×240 web page with a preview of the data.
When the user clicks the Accelerator, the Execute action is performed and the browser navigates to a page passing it the selected text as a parameter.

To build IE8 Accelerators, we have several steps to do:

  1. Building an Accelerator Page
  2. Defining the Accelerator OpenService Xml
  3. Registering the Accelerator with IE8
  4. Using the Accelerator

To make sure this guide is generic enough for every Accelerator you may think of and not just for Twitter profiles, I am leaving the twitter logic to the last part of this post.

1. Building an Accelerator Page

Create a new ASP.Net Web Application in Visual Studio 2008 or open an existing one.

Add a new Web Form for the Accelerator Preview. In the page code behind, extract the query string parameters write them to the Response object:

protected void Page_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)

{

  foreach (string param in Request.QueryString.AllKeys)

  {

    Response.Write(param + " = " + Request.QueryString[param] + "<br />");

  }

}

Test the page: Navigate to the accelerator’s url, and add several parameters. For example:

http://localhost:16319/ShowTwitterUser.aspx?data1=guy&data2=burstein

 

Defining the Accelerator OpenService Xml

In order to register the Accelerator with a user’s browser, we have to create an xml file with the details of the Accelerator.

Add an Xml file to the web application that defines the Accelerators metadata required by the browser.

<openServiceDescription
     
xmlns=http://www.microsoft.com/schemas/openservicedescription/1.0>

  <homepageUrl>http://www.bursteg.net/</homepageUrl>

  <display>

    <name>Twitter Profile Accelerator</name>

    <icon>http://www.twitter.com/favicon.ico</icon>

  </display>

  <activity category="Define">

    <activityAction context="selection">

      <preview action="http://www.bursteg.net/Twitter/ShowTwitterUser.aspx">

        <parameter name="selection" value="{selection}" />

      </preview>

      <execute action="http://www.bursteg.net/Twitter/ShowTwitterUser.aspx">

        <parameter name="documentUrl" value="{documentUrl}" />

        <parameter name="documentTitle" value="{documentTitle}" />

        <parameter name="documentDomain" value="{documentDomain}" />

        <parameter name="documentHost" value="{documentHost}" />

        <parameter name="selection" value="{selection}" />

      </execute>

    </activityAction>

  </activity>

</openServiceDescription>

Few things to notice in the Accelerator Xml:

1. There is some meta data about the accelerator such as homepage Url and the display name and icon.

2. The Activity node defines a category to which this accelerator belongs to. There are some default categories like Map, Translate, Blog etc, but users can manage their categories using the Manage Add-ons Dialog.

3. As described earlier, the accelerator defines 2 actions, preview and execute, each defines a Url to call to when clicked / previewed, and several parameters to pass to the target page.

Register the Accelerator with the User’s Browser

In a page of your chose (for example Default.aspx) add a button that registers the accelerator when clicked:

<input id="btnRegister" type="button" value="Add Accelerator to IE8" 
      onclick="BLOCKED SCRIPTwindow.external.AddService(‘TwitterProfileAccelerator.xml‘);" />

When the user clicks on the above button, a dialog pops us asking his permission to add this accelerator to his browser, and whether to make it the default accelerator in its category.

Using the Accelerator

After the user has added the accelerator to his browser he can start using it. Select some text and the accelerator box will appear next to it. Click on it add hover over the new accelerator. This should make an HTTP request to the accelerator page passing it the text you have selected.

If you click on the accelerator, IE8 will open the target page in a new tab passing it the selected text and additional information as defined in the accelerator xml.

Summary

In this pot I took the steps needed to build an accelerator. You can follow them you build your own accelerators and add additional logic to provide more interaction with your uses.

Enjoy!

Batch OCR Multiple Files Easily – Acrobat for Life Sciences March 16, 2010

Posted by John Ruby in Solutions.
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Batch OCR Multiple Files Easily – Acrobat for Life Sciences
Batch OCR Multiple Files Easily

One requirement for scanned PDFs submitted to most regulatory agencies is that the files are searchable. To make scanned PDFs text searchable, Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is used.

In a previous article on Batch OCR, I discussed using Acrobat Pro to create a Batch Sequence to process multiple files.

In Acrobat 9 Standard and Pro, there is now an easy way to OCR multiple files using a new feature— Recognize Text in Multiple Files using OCR:

Read on to learn how to use this new feature.

OCR Multiple Files in Acrobat

To use this new feature in Acrobat 9:

  1. Choose OCR Text Recognition—> Recognize Text in Multiple Files using OCR
  2. Click the Add Files button at the top of the window

    Add Files allows you select one or more files from different folders
    Add Folders will OCR every file recursively in a folder
    Add Open Files will OCR files open in the Acrobat application
  3. After adding files, click the OK button.
  4. The Output Options screen appears:

    A) You can overwrite the files or save a copy to another folder
    B) You can rename the files with a prefix or suffix. e.g. document_ocr.pdf
    C) Enable Fast Web View which makes PDFs view faster on the web
    D) PDF Optimizer (Pro only) allows you to specify PDF versions and resample images
  5. Click OK.
  6. The Recognize Text – Settings window appears:

    – Choose the language needed.
    – Set the PDF Output style. You might try the new ClearScan style which smooths type
  7. Click OK and Acrobat will begin processing your files and the Progress window will appear:

    Any errors will be displayed in this window.

I can’t OCR using Acrobat. What does the "renderable text" warning mean?

One OCR error you might encounter is "The page contains renderable text."

When this error is indicated, the page contains vector text elements:

  1. Acrobat cannot OCR a document which has text elements on top of image elements.

    Acrobat 8.1 and up will ignore renderable text objects within a margin defined as 20% of the width or height of the page.

    For example, for a standard 8.5" by 11" page:

    • Left Margin = 2.2" (8.5" X .20)
    • Top Margin = 1.7" (11" X .20)

    Here’s a PDF version of the above illustration which you can use to check your own files.

  2. Acrobat cannot OCR a document that was output from an electronic file (such as Word) directly to PDF.
    • If you zoom into the document in question and it looks very clear, that is likely the issue.
    • Good news, these documents are already searchable.
  3. Acrobat cannot OCR a file that does not contain an image.
    • You won’t be able to OCR a Visio drawing containing only vector elements, for example.
    • More good news. When converted directly from a CAD program, the text is already searchable.
  4. Acrobat cannot OCR a document that has already been OCRd using the ClearScan option

Final Thoughts

OCR is a great solution if you only have access to paper documents. However, I see many companies using paper-based workflows when there are clearly better, "greener" alternatives.

Business-critical workflows based on paper are fragile, prone to error and costly. Look into using PDF forms to collect data. Use SAFE digital signatures instead of "wet" signatures. Use electronic document review instead of paper

Get a new Windows wallpaper every day March 16, 2010

Posted by John Ruby in Windows 7.
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Get a new Windows wallpaper every day
Get a new Windows wallpaper every day

Microsoft uses some amazing background images on its search engine Bing. By using the RSS desktop feature in Windows 7, you can have them as wallpaper every day.

Windows 7 is packed with amazing wallpapers, but even these can become a little stale. A new feature, however, enables you to automatically display images from the web on your desktop. As long as these are available using RSS – a technology that enables content from web pages to be pushed to PCs without having to visit the original source – Windows 7 can display fantastic images on its desktop.

The search engine Bing is famous for its amazing background images, which are updated daily. So much effort goes into the image selection that Microsoft employs someone full-time to choose the images. What’s more, they are available via RSS, so it’s easy to enjoy these images on your desktop.

Step-by-step: Bring Bing images to your desktop

1 Find Bing code
Alongside Flickr, Bing is a fantastic source of images. What’s more, it’s possible to take an RSS feed of the images and have them displayed as a dynamically-changing Windows 7 wallpaper. Go to http://snipurl.com/bingrsstheme and copy the special code, by highlighting it and then clicking Page > Copy.

2 Save as
Now open Notepad (click the Start button and type in ‘notepad’ to find it) and paste (Edit > Paste) in the copied information. Next go to File > Save As and write the name bing.theme. This changes to a Windows 7 theme when you save it, rather than a text document. (The icon resembles two squares.)

3 Run theme
You don’t have to install the theme like a normal program to add it to your themes library – simply double-clicking the file you created populates your list in Windows 7. Once you’ve run the theme, you don’t need to keep the original file around either, so feel free to clear your desktop.

4 Change theme
Once installed, right-click on the desktop and choose Personalize. All your installed themes are listed in the main window, and you can see the customised RSS themes under the
My Themes tab. There are some Windows 7 themes already provided underneath to play with, too.


5 Choose your image

Bing changes its background image every day, but using the RSS feed doesn’t mean you’re stuck with today’s picture. If you go to Personalization > Desktop Background, you see a list of over 100 Bing images from the past months, and you can choose any one you like.

6 Stretch
Microsoft is still working on getting the rights to full size desktop images for its Bing collection, so the images are centred rather than full-screen – which isn’t ideal. To rectify this, right-click on the desktop then select Personalize > Desktop Background > Stretch, though there might be some loss in quality.

7 Try more
If you want to try more RSS backgrounds, download theme files for Flickr from www.istartedsomething.com. These download images from the feeds of several excellent photographers who have authorised their photos to be used. Just download the theme files and open them to add to your Theme library.

8 Sit back and enjoy
Now you have a desktop background which refreshes every day, with a never-ending stream of fantastic and awe-inspiring photos from all over the world. Look out for more RSS wallpaper feeds appearing, as photographers realise the power of the Windows 7 desktop background

How to make your own time-saving search bookmarklets March 16, 2010

Posted by John Ruby in Solutions.
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How to make your own time-saving search bookmarklets | News | TechRadar UK
How to make your own time-saving search bookmarklets

If you want to extend your browser’s search capabilities then you could install a toolbar or add-on. But that’ll use system resources, require regular updates, and could make your system less reliable.

A better idea is to use a bookmarklet, a piece of custom JavaScript that lives in your browser favourites and won’t slow you down at all. You’re clueless about JavaScript? That doesn’t matter. Greg R Notess has already created some excellent search bookmarklets, so you can just borrow this Google example and tweak it to suit your needs:

javascript:q = "" + (window.getSelection ? window.getSelection() : document.getSelection ? document.getSelection() : document.selection.createRange().text); if (!q) q = prompt("Search words", ""); if (q!=null) location="http://www.google.com/search?q=&quot; + escape(q).replace(/ /g, "+"); void 0

Essentially this looks for highlighted text on the current page, then passes it to the Google search page, but the details really don’t matter. All you really have to do is replace the "http://www.google.com/search?q=&quot; part with the search URL for the site you’d like to use.

Perhaps you’d like an easy way to search the Sky Sports site, for instance. Visit www.skysports.com, enter Ronaldo in the search box and click Search. Then look at the contents of your browser address box: http://www.skysports.com/autonomy/results/1,20720,,00.html?searchtype=the+site&q=ronaldo .

Strip off our Ronaldo query and the Sky Sports search URL is "http://www.skysports.com/autonomy/results/1,20720,,00.html?searchtype=the+site&q=". Replace the Google URL in the original bookmarklet with that one and we have this:

javascript:q = "" + (window.getSelection ? window.getSelection() : document.getSelection ? document.getSelection() : document.selection.createRange().text); if (!q) q = prompt("Search words", ""); if (q!=null) location="http://www.skysports.com/autonomy/results/1,20720,,00.html?searchtype=the+site&q=" + escape(q).replace(/ /g, "+"); void 0

Now create a favourite or bookmark for this page, right-click it and select Properties.

Copy and paste the above JavaScript into the Location (Firefox) or URL (IE) box, give it a name like "Search Sky Sports" and click OK.

Finally, highlight words such as "Andy Murray" on a news page you are reading, select the new bookmarklet, and you’ll see the Sky Sports search results.

It’s easy, and you can use the same trick with most of your favourite sites. Just find their search URL, enter it in the original Google bookmarklet, add it to your bookmarks and you’re ready to

Windows 7 Explore the features: Windows ReadyBoost March 16, 2010

Posted by John Ruby in Utilities.
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Explore the features: Windows ReadyBoost
With Windows ReadyBoost, you can use non-volatile flash memory, such as that on a universal serial bus (USB) flash drive, to improve performance without having to add additional memory "under the hood."

The flash memory device serves as an additional memory cache—that is, memory that the computer can access much more quickly than it can access data on the hard drive. Windows ReadyBoost relies on the intelligent memory management of Windows SuperFetch and can significantly improve system responsiveness.

It’s easy to use Windows ReadyBoost. When a removable memory device such as a USB flash drive or a secure digital (SD) memory card is first inserted into a port, Windows Vista checks to see if its performance is fast enough to work with Windows ReadyBoost. If so, you are asked if you want to use this device to speed up system performance. You can choose to allocate part of a USB drive’s memory to speed up performance and use the remainder to store files.

Free Virus, Spyware & Malware Protection | Microsoft Security Essentials March 16, 2010

Posted by John Ruby in Utilities.
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Virus, Spyware & Malware Protection | Microsoft Security Essentials
About Microsoft Security EssentialsMicrosoft Security Essentials provides real-time protection for your home PC that guards against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.Microsoft Security Essentials is a free* download from Microsoft that is simple to install, easy to use, and always kept up to date so you can be assured your PC is protected by the latest technology. It’s easy to tell if your PC is secure — when you’re green, you’re good. It’s that simple.Microsoft Security Essentials runs quietly and efficiently in the background so that you are free to use your Windows-based PC the way you want—without interruptions or long computer wait times.