AT&T U-Verse Gives Away Free Kindle Fire

Normally when a large company promises gadgets or other enticements IF, and only if, you order THEIR service/product,  you become skeptical. So, when AT&T U-Verse came up with a free Kindle after ordering their cable, internet, and phone bundle I was pleasantly surprised not only with their 2 year pricing contract ($125 monthly for all 3), but with the free gadget offering a swell. It was almost mentioned in passing, and to be honest with you, I almost forgot about it.

This is where I thank AT&T. And no, I do not work at nor for AT&T. In fact, like many (some?)others, I have had issues with AT&T from time to time. But it’s important to pay compliments to large companies and providers as well! I love their U-Verse service. It is very reliable and enjoyable all around. Awesome!

Tangentially, getting back to the ‘free gadget’: I was offered a free item out of several offerings. From AT&T, the choices:

“New U-verse Internet Customers Can Take Their Pick: A Free Xbox 360, SONOS PLAY:3, Kindle Fire or Nexus 7 Tablet”

This was from a few months ago. I have no idea if the offer is still valid, but I am sure they have similar offers. I must tell you the item I chose rocks! I chose the Amazon Kindle Fire 7 HD. It is an awesome little guy. It packs a punch. It is a little too tied into the Amazon ecosystem, but hey, the little tablet was free, thanks to AT&T. I let my 8 year old son use it. We have already logged into our local public library and downloaded a few books to read for free. The WiFi on the Kindle Fire is speedy. It joined the AT&T Wireless network within seconds. It has all the social networking Apps and much more. Of course, an Amazon account is required, and they make purchases EASY (that’s their objective after all ;>). So far, I have not purchased anything, but I have surfed the web via its Silk browser, read a few free Kindle eBooks, and

U-Verse Blog Entry

Delete Windows Server 2012 Virtual Hard Disk

I noticed on Windows Server 2012 Datacenter edition that deleting a virtual hard disk is a little tricky. This is by design, of course. Imagine deleting your Production server database or web site after a clean up or maintenance cycle. It is not easy to do. If there is a an actual hard drive associated with a Hyper-V virtual machine, it is impossible to delete without tearing things down first. This is good. But even with excellent clustering, replication or {insert fail over of your choosing}, it’s still not good to remove a virtual machine ‘by mistake’.

But let’s say you need to clean up the virtual machines and drives on a large server? The Volumes, Drives, and/or Disks can grow rapidly. Before you know it, you do not know what is what. You can really see this by the location of your Virtual Hard Disks and Hyper-V files (config files). This can get messy if you are storing the virtual machines in different places (don’t do this). So, let’s say a few test servers are set up quickly. Some testing is done and as you are about to remove all virtual disks and machines associated with these testers, you get called off on another project or emergency. You will get to these disk ‘another time’.

But it is forgotten. Before you know it you need some space over n your Exchange Servers. A clean up of unused machines is needed to reclaim space.

This is what I learned. The first step occurs before any of this, when planning out your infrastructure. Namely, pay attention to Virtual Machine NAMING SCHEME. Be sure there is a rhyme and reason to it. In the modern age, you likely do not want to call the virtual machines by the company name + number, i.e. CoolStartup1, CoolStartUp2, etc. What happens if the company gets bought, renamed? Also, it is helpful to use function in the names: ServIIS1 or SERVER_SSL1, etc. This is important as in time, you may need to remove servers from the virtual environment. In other words, be organized.

To remove a Virtual Hard Disk, you first need to locate it, then detach it. First, I verified the ones CURRENTLY IN USE. Screen shots are nice for your own reference. These are not to be touched.
Next up: open Computer Management/Storage/Disk Management. This area is clear on a home laptop, but on a fully raided beast of a Windows Datacenter 2012 Server, this can be blinding. Depending on your scenario, you may have dozens and dozens of Data Partitions and Disk drives. Verify your Disk to be deleted is correct. Right-click the Disk (#), and select Detach VHD (Virtual Hard Disk). In the Detach Virtual Hard Disk window, verify all is good. You will see the name of the .VHDX file that is associated with your virtual machine to be deleted. Hopefully, the names of your machines are logical. Then you can confirm.

This clears it from this interface. But in order to delete the virtual machine’s folder, the one with the large .VHDX file, you may need to find the SYSTEM RESERVED drive within Disk Management. Right click the virtual hard disk and try to Mount. This should yield a System Reserve drive letter. That needs to be deleted, then you should be able to delete the .Vhdx.

Toshiba Windows 8 Laptop for $314

Toshiba Direct is offering a new Windows 8 laptop for $314. Yes, you read that right. If you are a student, for example, this is outstanding. Don’t forget, as cool as iPads are, they do not have a lot of storage (disk) space, and also, the screens are TINY. Small screens are fine for using Facebook and Twitter, not so good for doing real work or study.

Detail are below.

Toshiba Satellite C50-ABT2N11 Laptop

  • Intel® Celeron® processor 1005M
  • Windows 8 (Windows 7 Professional option available)
  • 4GB DDR3 memory
  • 320GB (5400RPM) hard drive
  • Touchscreen Option Available
  • Mobile Intel® graphics
  • DVD SuperMulti Drive
  • 1366×768 TruBrite display
  • Wi-Fi® 802.11 b/g/n
  • Dedicated numeric keypad
  • Integrated webcam
  • Starting at 5.3 lbs

    Windows 8.1 Update

    So … Windows 8.1 shall be released soon. What is this all about? In sum, Windows 8.1 is akin to a nicely done coat of fresh paint over the original version 8. It is an update. A couple of simple key points:

    1. IT IS FREE. Makes sense? It is simply an update to Windows 8.

    2. Searching is easier: when you mouse or touch down to the lower right of Windows 8, you see the Search function. It has been divided into 3 separate search areas: Apps, Settings, Files. With Windows 8.1 the searching is combined, and includes web results. It is done by Bing technology.
    [I am still not 100% sure whether or not Settings are also searched in this all-in-one update]

    3. SkyDrive is the default location for saving files. I think this is awesome. I do not think Microsoft does enough to tout its SkyDrive nor the integration with the former Hotmail and everyday PCs or tablets etc. If you have not saved anything to SkyDrive, give it a try. Save a few test files to it. If you have a Windows phone, you can see them from there. You can log into your Outlook.Com account from any PC in the world and retrieve that cool picture or important Word Document.

    After logging into Hotmail (Outlook.Com), a little secret that some do not know: there’s a little arrow pointing downward. If clicked, you get the secrets to your kingdom:
    Outlook.Com, People, Calendar, SkyDrive

    There are other new features, fixes, and updates included with the Windows 8.1 release.

    Anyway, here’s the official Microsoft Windows 8.1 site