Thoughts from your friendly neighborhood technologist.

Category: Work Related (page 2 of 6)

Everything relating to my everyday job as a Systems Architect.

VMware Horizon Mirage 4.4 Now Available

So earlier today I was in Reston, VA at VMware’s swanky new Executive Briefing Center with a customer talking about End User Computing.  When my buddy Chris mentioned that VMware Mirage 4.4 has gone GA.  I cannot tell you guys how much traction this product gets from customers when I perform a break fix demonstration right in front of their eyes.  It truly is a powerful piece of software for maintaining the integrity of either physical or virtual endpoints.  Below is the official announcement from VMware about the release.  Let me know if you have any questions!


VMware Horizon Mirage 4.4 Now Available!

Horizon Mirage 4.4 is now generally available! This latest release of Horizon Mirage introduces several exciting new features that benefit a variety of areas in IT. Horizon Mirage 4.4 now includes support for the latest Windows desktop operating systems – Windows 8 and 8.1. With this addition, Horizon Mirage can protect desktops and laptops with operating systems starting from Windows XP (if you still have it!) to Vista to 7 and now 8 and 8.1.  The next major feature, and one that benefits distributed enterprises, is a new Mirage Gateway. The gateway allows secure centralized management of remote endpoints without the need for VPN. Finally, enhancements to the Windows 7 migration process helps make migrations even faster with Horizon Mirage – as if they weren’t fast enough already! Here’s more information on some of the key new features in Horizon Mirage 4.4:

Windows 8 Support – Windows 8 and 8.1 devices can now be centralized and recovered using Horizon Mirage. IT can initiate a full system recovery in case of a lost, stolen, or broken beyond repair desktop, laptop or tablet. End users can initiate self-service file recovery in case they want to revert a deleted file or revert a file to a previous snapshot. And all of this can be done in minutes to hours, not days to weeks.

Mirage Gateway – The Mirage Gateway helps remote users connect their devices back to the corporate network, where Horizon Mirage is centrally located. End users do not need to set up a VPN connection to synchronize or back up their local files to the centrally-located Mirage Server(s). Saving this extra step across many remote users creates a non-disruptive experience for those remote users. And, the Mirage Gateway includes enterprise-grade scalability and security.

Fast Windows 7 Migration – A new policy can be applied to endpoints such that data does not get backed up or centralized during a migration workflow. This can lead to a tremendous amount of time saving as centralization is generally one of the biggest time consumers in a migration project.

Easy Upgrade for Horizon View Customers with Horizon Mirage – If IT needs to upgrade the Horizon View agent from 5.3 to future releases, they can do so with Horizon Mirage. Using a base or application layer is a two-step process that allows IT to perform this upgrade. The upgrade does not disrupt any applications that are managed outside of the base or app layer that contains the View upgrade.

Web Console and File Portal Enhancements – Using the web console and file portal just got better with Horizon Mirage 4.4. End users can now download multiple centralized files, and even folders, across devices. The web console has been further improved to allow IT to perform mass centralization and get deeper insight into the endpoints being managed with dashboard drilldowns. These enhancements automate management for IT, making troubleshooting easier and providing a scalable endpoint centralization option.

As noted above, Horizon Mirage 4.4 introduces several enhancements and new features that help IT work better, faster and smarter. This translates into fantastic support for end users, which helps maximize business efficiency.

Crap… where does the time go?

As you can see I haven’t really been very thorough in making some updates to the site, and I’m getting the urge to get back into the  swing of things.  

Since I’ve been gone, I’ve gone through a couple of different jobs in the Hampton Roads area, primarily because each position I accepted pretty much had me sitting at a desk waiting for something to do.  Which is exactly the opposite of what I told them I wanted to be doing. That being said I’ve found a position with a great new company in central Virginia as a VMware Solutions Architect.  Getting to meet new customers and help them along their journey to a more streamlined and automated infrastructure environment is what I love to do.

I’m going to start posting regularly here on what I’m seeing customers struggling with in addition to some VMware product updates and how-to’s.

In addition to the new activity going on here, make sure you check out all of the new websites that we’ve got up and running at The New Tech.

If you have any suggestions for content here, please don’t hesitate to shoot me an email.  See you guys soon!


How To Record iHeartRadio & Elliot In The Morning

I have a confession to make, I can’t remember the last time I listened to terrestrial radio. I’ve had satellite radio in my vehicles ever since Opie & Anthony joined XM, and have never had to listen to commercial in my car in nearly a decade.

My girlfriend however loves the morning radio show Elliot in the Morning out of Washington, DC.  iHeartRadio used to be her saving grace as she would catch up on the previous day’s show throughout her work day.  But earlier this summer iHeartRadio decided they weren’t going to broadcast Elliot’s replays throughout the day and decided to only play his show live. So in my ongoing quest to keep my girlfriend happy I started to look for options on how to download the daily episodes of Elliot.


I stumbled upon the website and thought that this was going to be much easier than I had anticipated.  Basically DAR has a collection of shows that you can search for, and records them for you allowing you to listen to them online, or download them to a moblie device of your choice for offline listening.  The only problem is the mobile applications suck a bag of dicks.  They constantly get stuck trying to download portions of a show (of which there are twenty 15 minute parts), entire shows don’t show up in the mobile app, or it just freezes completely.  So with all of the headaches of using a service I had no control over, it was time to engineer something that I could manage myself and verify that episodes were being downloaded.

Head on past the break to figure out what I ultimately came up with.

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Moving Up and On…

Damn, it’s been a terribly long time since I’ve gone ahead and updated my site here so I figured with finding a new job, some pretty big changes happening with and some personal things that I’m trying to wrap up why not go ahead and put a little more effort into getting things going on this.

So let’s start off first by catching up, shall we?

I’ve just recently started a new job with a company called Entec, and I know you’re thinking to yourself “Damn Matt you sure do change jobs a lot!” And that’s pretty accurate but there’s a reason behind my most recent employment changes. First off if you know me, or have caught any of the online media that I’ve been a part of for the last decade you know that I’m a pretty strong willed person. To the point in which it can be labeled a fault, but in my mind I just look to it as the attribute of someone who knows what they want, and strives to achieve it. The last couple of jobs that I’ve had I was pretty much lied to when it came to the description of what I was actually going to be doing.

I originally left the employment of a company that I had been with for nearly 5 years because there really weren’t any additional opportunities for growth or advancement. This move was completely my decision and it wasn’t solely about money. I had reached a point with that particular company which saw me babysitting an otherwise well oiled machine, and having nothing much to do but browse the internet all day. Now some may think that’s the greatest job in the world… Getting paid to browse the internet! But let me assure you that simply isn’t the case, ultimately you’re checking the same websites all day waiting for something new to come up. And when I wasn’t doing that I was working on other projects of mine, and to me it just felt I was wasting away being a desk jockey and that simply me.

So I left, and took a job with a company that promised I would be engaged in new business development, as well as solution development. What they actually needed was someone to sit at a desk for 6 months and fill a body at one of their clients in the event something catastrophic happened. So I left a job that was paying me to browse the internet for another company that basically paid me MORE money to do the same thing. Needless to say I was a little frustrated by this, but the client was fairly close to where I live and I thought in the end once this contract was over we were going to get back to what I had initially signed on for. Fast forward 6 months when the contract did indeed end and I was driving around to new clients assisting with infrastructure redesigns, and actively engaging with decision makers to fix a bunch of issues that previous technicians had screwed up. That was until the company I was working for needed a sharepoint administrator to install a new deployment for a local municipality. This didn’t exactly sit well with me in the first place due to the fact that the project manager leading this deployment really had no clue as to the requirements, and was in essence shoving this down the City IT department’s throat. They didn’t need this, and while I’m all about trying to make a dollar, this wasn’t the way to go about it. So after that disagreement, the company and I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t going to work out long term so we parted ways.

But wait there’s more, continue on after the break to see what I’m up to now.

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Upgrade HP Elitebook 8460p Screen

Recently I became fed up with the display panel that my HP Elitebook 8460p came with. Unfortunately this laptop was supplied to me by my employer, so I didn’t have any say in the ordering process.  I have been able to expense a 16GB RAM upgrade, and a 256GB SSD upgrade, but replacing a perfectly working screen and expensing that would probably have been a little more difficult.

By default the laptop comes with a 14″ matte display with a resolution of 1366×768.  When ordering one of these, there was an option for a panel with 1600×900, but as mentioned before, I didn’t have the chance to specify. So I figured I’d bite the bullet and order a display on my own as the use I’d get out of the additional resolution was completely worth it to me.

A new panel will run you around $350 direct from HP.  That being said, I didn’t pay $350!  I found the HP spare parts catalog for my particular laptop and found the display panel part number and did a quick Google search.  A company I have used for replacement displays in the past unfortunately didn’t have the particular panel I wanted in stock.  But luckally for me I found one for around $90 on Amazon.  After the display arrived in a gloriously protected package, I set out to replace the panel and begin enjoying my additional screen real estate!

But after installing the panel, and turning the power on, I had a problem.  While the computer detected that the new panel had a resolution of 1600×900, there were pink lines streaming across the screen, and text on the display was nearly impossible to read.


Immediately I was pissed! $90 for nothing! I started thinking that maybe I had a defective panel, or perhaps I screwed up the cable while replacing the panel.  So back to Google I went.  Unfortunately there’s not much in the way of definitive answers if simply replacing the panel is all you need to do.  After about 30 minutes I saw something I missed… there appear to be two different cables for the display panel.  One for the HD (1366×768) panel, and one for the HD+ (1600×900).  I asked myself if there could possibly be a difference, and then saw it was about $18 direct from HP.  So I ordered one and began the wait again.

After about a week the cable arrived, and I began disassembling the laptop again.  Unfortunately this time I couldn’t just easily remove the bezel and replace the panel.  No, I had to completely disassemble the entire chassis of this machine, and let me tell you… this is one of the most difficult diassemblies I’ve ever performed, simply because of how many hidden screws there are everywhere.  I now have a renewed appreciation for all the Dell laptops I’ve ever performed service on!  Regardless, after about an hour of finally getting the bottom off the laptop I installed the replacement cable, buttoned everything back up, installed the new panel and started the machine.  Miraculously the display was crisp, no lines, and displaying at it’s advertised 1600×900 resolution!

So there you have it!  Sorry that I didn’t take any pictures of the disassembled machine, but needless to say it was more of a process than I would have preferred   Even though the cable that I took out looked exactly like the new one I ordered from HP and I can’t tell why the new cable works but the old one doesn’t, I’m just relived that it does.  So for those of you who have found this page wondering if it’s possible to upgrade your HP EliteBok Display Panel, the answer is yes.  You’ll need two things…

Cable kit for HP EliteBook 8460p models with HD+ displays (HP P/N: 642793-001)
Display panel, 35.6 cm (14.0 in), HD+, anti-glare, LED, SVA, LVDS (HP P/N: 653040-001)

After you’ve ordered your new parts, have a look at the service manual for the laptop for exact dis-assembly instructions. 

Let me know if you have any questions!

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