Monday, 28 February 2011

NATC Test Piloted a SMS Broadcast Service

Contributed by Farzana Rasheed

NATC recently successfully tested an SMS Service for a customer that needed to reach its rural beneficiaries. We were able to get a good rate per SMS with a local Telco which will make this is an economically viable service to market and execute. The pilot was done directly by the Telco because it was a small number of texts. However, we are in the process of executing this service through the use of desktop software deployed at our offices or on the client site.   

There are 5 Telco's in Liberia that provide GSM and Internet Services. Most customers that need to broadcast information go to a Telco for a mass blast across that Telco's network. Our service will be tailored, instead, towards a specific set of end receivers making this a truly value-added service.   

Watch out for this space!

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Windows Server 2008 Standard Edition R2 x 64-bit

Contributed by Jonathan Barwon

We have recently completed a server installation project of Windows Server 2008 Standard Edition R2 x 64-bit for one of clients. We are pretty sure this is one of the few deployments of this particular edition of Windows Servers here in Liberia because almost everyone is still using the 2003 version.

This blog entry will describe how we went about setting up the Server which took us a couple of weeks. We started in the second week of December but had to pause it over the Christmas & New Year break as our client had shut down its offices over the holidays. We completed and handed over the project in the second week of January. 

Brief Description of Project:

The objective of the project was to create a domain and a workgroup for common file sharing with high security among users; to have better control of the network end users’ devices i.e. to deny users' access to sites that use a lot of bandwidth (downloadable sites).

Hardware Requirements:

To deploy the Windows Server 2008 you need to meet the following hardware requirements:

Minimum: Single processor with 1.4 GHz (x64 processor) or 1.3GHz (Dual Core)
Note: An Intel Itanium 2 processor is required for Windows Server 2008 R2 for Itanium-Based Systems
Minimum: 512 MB RAM
Maximum: 8 GB (Foundation) or 32 GB (Standard) or 2 TB (Enterprise, Datacenter, and Itanium-Based Systems)
Disk Space Requirements
Minimum: 32 GB or greater
Note: Computers with more than 16 GB of RAM will require more disk space for paging, hibernation, and dump files
Super VGA (800 × 600) or higher resolution monitor
DVD Drive, Keyboard and Microsoft Mouse (or compatible pointing device), Internet access (fees may apply)

We were lucky enough to be working with a brand new and really sleek desktop – the Dell Studio XPS100 which we had imported for the client. The XPS100 was not intended to host the server but the client decided to use it anyway. As you can see the specs are significantly higher than the basic requirement: 

Processor:  Intel® CoreTM i7-870 processor (8MB Cache, 2.93GHz)
Memory: 8GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz - 4 DIMMs
Available Disk Space: 1TB - 7200RPM,  SATA 3.0Gb/s,  16MB Cache
Drive: 16X CD/DVD Burner + Roxio Creator 10 Premier - Ultimate Burn/Authoring
Display/ Peripherals: 
21.5" Dell SX2210 Full HD Monitor with Integrated 2.0 Megapixel  Webcam

Installing and Configuration of the ABA windows server 2008

December 28 2010 - January 14, 2011

Installation was quite easy and you can even find a step-by-step instruction on the Internet i.e. 

As for the configuration, here's what I did:
Day .1
It took me 2 hours to install the windows server 2008 standard edition.
I also installed McAfee antivirus and updated it, this took almost the whole day because of the slow Internet speed. 
Day .2
a. I started configuring the server by creating a common domain name for the server, with the domain name and a static IP address.
b. I created Accounts and Passwords for 15 users and their logon names to access the server. Active Directory configuration was done along with Active Directory Controller.
c. I also created personal folders for each of the 15 users to be able to save their document.
Day .3
a. I started configuration of Domain Name Service (DNS), Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), win service to enable client access the Internet, and Configuration of User and Computer Environment using Group Policy. I also did the Accounts lock out policies, account management events, user rights assignments, restricted groups, and security options password settings all of these were done. 
b. I also set up the Preferred DNS server IPv4 addresses. 
I opted not to use WINS on the network and I clicked Next.
Then, I was promoted to configure a DHCP scope for the new DHCP server. I  opted to configure an IP address range of to cover the 40+ PC Clients on the client's local network. To do this, I clicked Add to a new scope. I named the scope Client-local, configured the starting and ending IP addresses of
Subnet mask of, default gateway of, type of subnet and activated the scope.
c. Apart from the main office, I also had to set up a static IP address for 20 computers in the Computer Lab. I added these computers to the domain and set up their network printer on the network with a static IP address. 
After the first 3 days I had to pause the project, because client was closed down over the Christmas/New Year period. 
After a long holiday the client resumed work on January 10, 2011 and I was able to continue with my work. There was not much to do except to make sure all the users were on the server and able to share and access files. 
This Windows server 2008 x64 standard edition which was purchased by my company, New Africa Technology Company, from the Microsoft Corporation One Microsoft Way Redmond, WA 98052 USA. It came with 40 user’s license (CAL's). 

How'd it go?

Building this server was not an easy thing for me to do because I have not worked on or built a Windows Server 2008 before. This was my very first time working in Server 2008,  I have only built and work within Windows Server 2003. But when I started things began working well as was planed. I had also done some reading on the Internet to familiarise myself. Towards the close of the configuration process, the clients' users were unable to access the Internet. The problem was that I did not share the network connection of the second network card of the server. I tried to get some help from other techies in the country but to no avail. I ended up e-mailing my IT teacher in Ghana and explained the problem to him and he told the problem was that because I did not share the second network. And, as soon as I shared the second network card, the problem was solved! 

The project was completed and handed over to the client who is quite happy! I am sure the next time I have to do it, it'll be quite easy and straightforward. 

Friday, 18 February 2011

We also supply GENUINE Toner Cartridges!!

Contributed by Haresh Karamchandani

We have been having several complaints from one of our IMPORTANT clients with regards to their network printer.

The client called and was blaming our technician’s incompetence and even threatened to end our contract. (Exaggeration? Not really, just adding a bit of drama to the blog entry). Therefore we decided that a senior manager of the company should attend to the call personally along with our chief IT Specialist Technician. Normally call-outs are taken care of routinely by the techies.

On arrival at the site we switched on the HP5550dn Printer and it showed a 54.18 Printer error message.

We then queried the in-house techie and tried to dig out the sequence of events that led to the Printer not working. He explained that he got a Printer Error message that the Magenta Toner HP C9733A level was zero and needed to be replaced. He said that after he replaced the Toner, the printer would not work!!!

We asked him for the original empty toner and put it back into the printer and restarted it. The printer came on well but could not print because the toner was empty.

Then we checked the replacement toner and realized that it was a fake toner. Genuine HP toners have a reflective color sticker. This one did not have one. And to add insult to injury the sticker on the cartridge was stuck UPSIDE DOWN!! (By the way, we know who is supplying these fake cartridges but for the sake of diplomacy and how small Monrovia is, we shall not dare mention their name.) 

We then asked the client if he had any other toners available so that we could try and see if they work. They had a couple more. But fake. We nevertheless opened another one and installed it. The printer still did not work. Then we opened the third one and installed it, and the printer worked for a few printouts and then again started showing the same error message.

It was confirmed that all this was being caused due to the substandard cartridge.

We advised our important client that they should not use the substandard cartridge as the ink leaks out and also may end up damaging the sensor inside the printer.

They have agreed with us and have placed an order with us to supply them Genuine Toner Cartridges!. Yaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy.!!! One more happy client.