GoogleIt Mail IT Print IT PermaLinkFamily Tech Support: The iPod Wars, and a Shared Notes Installation On XP
03:46:06 PM
Written By : Richard SchwartzCategory : 1. Life
Location : Nashua, NH

A while back I blogged about the trials and tribulations I suffered in getting the kids' computer updated so we could plug in my daugheter's new iPod. Today I was handed the iPod and informed that "it doesn't work".

Aaargh. The help desk's second worst nightmare is when the problem description begins -- and ends -- with "it doesn't work".

The help desk's worst nightmare is when the problem description begins with "I downloaded XXXX and now YYYY doesn't work. At least that didn't apply in this case. Or so I thought.

iPod is new territory for me. In fact, most of this MP3 stuff is pretty new to me. A couple of days ago, my younger daughter asked me to teach her how to burn a CD so she could make her own mixes, and I had to tell her that I couldn't teach her -- but we could learn together since I've never once actually burned a music CD. But iPod and iTunes being from Apple, I figured "how hard can it be?" so downstairs I went and I started checking it out.

Within a few minutes, I had diagnosed the problem as follows: the iPod was essentially empty, but iTunes was sure that it was full.

The thing I admire about Apple's products is that they are elegantly simple. There's nothing there that doesn't need to be there. They just work.

The thing I hate about Apple's products is that when they don't work, there's nothing there that needs to be there in order to figure out why they don't work.

Knowing that there was no music on the iPod, but not being able to find a way to get the iPod itself to tell me how much of it's diskflash (it's a Nano) was being used or by what, and after about an hour of repeatedly resetting the iPod, starting and stopping iTunes, and searching in vain through the menus and dialogs for any way to just reformat the flash, I noticed one of those little mini-popus that occasionally appear on the lower right under XP, telling me that a file somewhere in the iTunes directory was damaged and suggesting that I run chkdsk. Knowing that chkdsk has never once, in all the years that I've used computers, ever actually fixed a damaged file, I figured it was time to reinstall.

That's when I did a Help - About, and I was rather surprised to see a version number that was definitely older than what I remembered having installed from the CD that came with the Nano. That's odd, I thought to myself. Actually, that's not what I thought to myself. It was more like "That will #$%@ing teach me to give her admin privileges for her account."

After downloading and installing the latest iTunes, everything was fine. It immediately saw that there was plenty of empty space on the Nano, and started downloading. Problem solved.

Which brings me to the question of whether I can cut off admin privileges for my daughter's account. This is not domain account -- we don't have a file server in the house. It's just the local accounts for XP. I had tried setting both girls up as regular non-admin users, but I had problems with their Notes client use. On one computer with two login accounts, one Notes/Data directory, I have two id files, two location documents, and two welcome pages... one for each girl. Something was definitely not working right in the switching until I gave them both admin rights. I'm sure this isn't a supported configuration, but it seemed to work with the admin rights enabled, so I left it that way. I think I'm going to have to switch it to a "file server" installation under each girl's login account with a shared program directory but separate data directories. That will have to be a separate weekend project.

Of course, even if I get Notes working under a non-admin account on the kids' PC, whether or not I can get away with taking away her admin permissions is actually a separate question. Will it cost me more in "Dad, I need you to install _____ now because I need it for homework that's due tomorrow" requests than it will save me in "It doesn't work" reports?

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Comments :v

1. Greyhawk6810/24/2005 08:35:56 AM

Hey Rich,

You can take away admin rights, and then simply give them full control of the Notes directory. Right click on it and choose Properties and then choose the Security tab. Add their local names to the list and give them full control. Make sure in inherits down to the data directory too.

We lock down our users fairly tight here at work, but we give them full control (or at least modify) to the entire Notes directory and that seems to keep Notes happy...

Good Luck!

2. Richard Schwartz10/24/2005 08:55:10 AM

@Grey: I'll try that, but I think a file server installation is probably the best idea. Less location switching makes for fewer opportinities for screw-ups, which makes for fewer interrupted naps for Dad.

3. Josef10/24/2005 09:56:26 AM

Well, what about a simple Notes install selecting "multiuser install"? This would create Notes data directory for each user in their "Documents and settings" directories with the added benefit of separating the data directories (in case i something goes wrong). Just backup the data dir before the installation.

4. Richard Schwartz10/24/2005 10:33:31 AM

@Josef: I think that's the current equivalent of what I was referring to as the "file server install". It doesn't really have to be on a file server.

5. Keith Strickland10/24/2005 12:49:25 PM


What GreyHawk was describing is how we also setup our Notes clients at work. Heck, they don't even have permission to open up a command prompt.

But, as far as taking away admin rights.... I tried this at home for my daughter and was interupted MUCH MORE OFTEN to install this or that or I can't burn a CD, I can't play a game, I can't, I can't I can't.... So, needless to say she now has Admin rights and I get to play Dad instead of helpdesk.


6. Chris Miller10/26/2005 03:51:11 PM

I have all the kids set as romaing users on each machine. I do the install and they are Power Users, local to each mahcine.

No issues, I do the upgrades and they can sit where they want. No fuss. Or use the DWA 7 kiosk in the kitchen to make it even easier

7. Richard Schwartz10/26/2005 05:31:54 PM

I haven't played with roaming much. This might be a good excuse, especially since I've been putting off getting the older daughter her own laptop but am unlikely to be able to put it off much longer. OTOH, setting up the kids just for DWA is a thought. They've been using Notes client for a long time... since 4.6, I think, but they only ever use it for email.

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