Volume mapping and LUN associations with Dell Storage PowerShell Command Set

I wrote this script sample for someone who was interested in managing their failover with Sync Live Volume, but wanted to get a high-level view of mappings including LUN information and WWNs ahead of time so they could compare that information across arrays and prevent conflicts as they worked out their disaster recovery plan.  Dell Storage Manager obviously has this information, but having it in a format in one place is convenient, and putting it in CSV format adds some flexibility. Continue reading “Volume mapping and LUN associations with Dell Storage PowerShell Command Set”

Using the Disk Cleanup Tool to free up precious space

It’s amazing the amount of stuff on a hard drive that can be overlooked, until you run out of space.  The Disk Cleanup tool that is built into Windows can help keep your machine extra tidy, but can also be a powerful tool when you’re in a space crunch.

Think of the Disk Cleanup tool’s basic functionality as a “squeegee”.  But it has a mode that deals with system level files and more important stuff; think of that as the “power washer”.

In “power washer” mode, I was able to free up almost an additional 29GB of disk space.  A lot of this was due in part to the recent upgrade to Windows 10 that was performed on this machine.  And there’s more to be saved too.  More on that later.

I’ll walk you through the basics of how to use the Disk Cleanup tool.  It’s pretty powerful, so if you’re worried that you might inadvertently clean up something that you shouldn’t have, make sure you backup your data first.

Continue reading “Using the Disk Cleanup Tool to free up precious space”

Useful Excel Functions: YEARFRAC

I was looking for a way to compare the total years between two dates in decimal format.  My brain immediately goes to the process of how I would do that calculation if I am were writing it in a programming language, but Excel VBA and Excel formulas are a different beast.

In Excel, do you use DATEDIF, “sum’ing” with TODAY() or NOW(), or something else?

Excel has lots of little functions that do simple date operations (and lots of other stuff too).  In my searches, I came across something called YEARFRAC.

It’s very simple to use, and takes three parameters: a start date, end date, and an optional setting for controlling the number of calendar days you’re working with for the locale and calendar you’re using (I used Option 1).

Quite simply, you supply those three parameters and Excel will return a number in the form of a decimal that is the sum of the years between the two dates.  Slick!

Here’s what it looks like in Excel:



This would be handy for calculating service anniversaries, ages, or anything else where you need to know the difference between two dates.

You can find the syntax and usage reference for YEARFRAC here.

Running with the Crucial M4 SSD

I decided to do some hardware upgrades this weekend, and as prices on SSD continue to drop, I found a pretty good deal at my local MicroCenter.  The Crucial M4 256GB SSD normally retails for $239, but you save $50 instantly, and an additional $20 on a rebate, so you can take it home for $169 all said and done.

I installed it into my Dell desktop this afternoon, and thought at the same time I would start with a fresh build from the OS on up.  I timed some of these operations just to have an idea of the performance increase you can see when switching from spinning disk to SSD.  Of course, this isn’t a full comparison, since I don’t have existing data on these operations, but nonetheless, we all know how long we sit and wait for a new install of Windows or Office.

I’m pretty impressed with the performance.  There was a recommended firmware update for this drive, and I was able to install that directly from within Windows with only a reboot required to make it happen.

All in well, this seems to be a good investment.  After all, I was pretty spoiled when I received my XPS13, which also has an SSD on board.

Panoramics from the 2010 Minnesota State Fair

I was having a little fun with my new phone, the Samsung Epic 4G and discovered that there is a panoramic mode built into the camera.  I experimented a little and think for a 5MP camera on a phone, that I actually got some pretty good results.  What do you think?

The Giant Slide, a State Fair staple

Ellie took her first ride on the Giant Slide this year.  The picture above was from Saturday, September 4, which happened to be a record setting day with over 234,000 people visiting the Minnesota State Fair.  You can tell by the amount of people that it was indeed packed.  KISS was the Grandstand act that night.  Need I say more?

The Main Gate

This panoramic was from Friday, September 3.  The weather was cloudy with chilly temperatures in the upper 50’s.  In addition to the chilly weather, winds were out of the north at about 20 MPH which made it barely tolerable.  Check back with me in January to validate that last statement.  I like this photo particularly because it captures the main gate to the Minnesota State Fair on Snelling Avenue.

Sunny day on the Midway

Finally, I had to throw in a shot of the Midway from Saturday.  I shot this normally in pretty bright sunlight and used a preset in Aperture to add a high-dynamic range effect.  If you’re not familiar, you can learn more about HDR here.

Ellie on her first merry-go-round

Not a panoramic, but definitely a great memory from this year’s Fair.  Ellie experienced her first merry-go-round.  She was a little nervous at first, but once it got going she was laughing and waving at the on-lookers as she went by (over and over again). 

It’s been a while.

Matter of fact, it’s hard to believe that my last post was April 2.  That’s over four months ago.

A lot has happened in those four months.  Ellie is now 16 months old and has turned into this fabulous little girl with quite the personality,  I’ve moved into a different role at Compellent, moved from an iPhone to Android, lost some weight, gained some back, and survived another Minnesota State Fair.  The last two might be linked in some fashion.

Nonetheless, I’m going to try to refocus and generate some regular content on my blog.  Apparently no guest bloggers stop by in my absence to maintain things, but it stayed up anyway.  Oh, I did change the theme.  Cause it seems like I needed to do something to make it feel new again.  Surprisingly enough for me, my blog is also a little over four years old now.  It’s fun to look back on some of things I’ve written back; interesting or otherwise.

So, to my few faithful followers, I’ll try harder.  Thanks for hanging around and be sure to leave your comments when you stop by.

A New Look for The Braun Blog

I finished working on my new theme tonight, so you should be seeing the new look of my blog.  I’m still fine tuning some of what you are seeing, so things may seem a little dusty till we get all the kinks worked out.

Drop me a comment and let me know what you think of the new design or if something isn’t working as expected.

Sirius XM Announces Holiday Music Lineup

It’s the best time of the year.  Not only do some local radio stations switch over to Christmas music 24 hours a day, but Sirius / XM Radio dedicates five channels of its entire lineup to the holidays.

This year, the chestnutty goodness starts Monday, November 16.  Making the return are:

Holly (Sirius 3 / XM 23): Contemporary favorites with a mix of traditional Christmas music.  Playing November 16 – December 31.

Holiday Traditions (Sirius 4 / XM 4): My favorite.  Traditional Christmas music from the 40s-60s.  Playing November 16 – December 31.

Holiday Pops (Sirius 79 / XM 77): Classical style with choirs, Pavarotti, and more.  Playing December 7 – December 31.

Country Christmas (Sirius 62 / XM 10): Country style from Country starts past and present.  Kenny, Dolly, and the whole gang.  Playing December 7 – December 25.

Radio Hanukkah (Sirius 76 / XM 28): Hanukkah music and special segments celebrating Jewish culture.  Playing December 7 – December 19.

For the Twin Cities locals:

KOOL108 (107.9 FM) goes wall-to-wall Christmas music starting the day after Thanksgiving and running through December 25.

WLTE (102.9 FM) also goes Christmas music wall-to-wall.  They dub themselves “The Christmas Superstation”.  They tend to surprise their listeners by not publishing a date, but I have seen it happen anywhere from November 15th to the day before Thanksgiving.


UPDATE (11/16/09)
WLTE 102.9 FM in the Twin Cities switched over to Christmas music (24/7) at midnight.

Welcome Ellie!

Elouise Katherine arrived Monday, May 4, 2009 at 6:04 PM.  Here are a few pics of the new addition!

DSCN0336 DSCN0350

My New Netbook

Acer 19.1" Netbook
Acer 10.1" Netbook

Picked this up last weekend.  Netbooks are all the rage right now.  A simple, compact laptop that provides enough power and performance to do email, offer Internet access, and use Office apps.  Battery life is between 4-8 hours depending upon what you do.  The Acer that I purchased is suppose to get about 7-8 hours of power.  The first batch apparently is shipping with the larger (longer lasting) battery, while later productions will ship with a smaller battery capable of 4-5 hours; which is still great.

I loaded mine with Windows 7, Office 2007, and a few other apps that I use regularly.  This is the perfect device for travelers who regularly have to present (VGA output), like to take notes in a meeting or lecture, or just need quick access to email.  It weighs under 3 lbs., so you can’t ask for much more.  It ships with 1GB RAM, but for $20 you can swap out the 1GB chip for 2GB.

So far, I’m very impressed with it.  I did my research on these, which was a very frustrating process.  It is really hard to find full specs on a lot of these units, specifically information about upgradability of RAM and hard drive.  Needless to say, I saw a few people out in Redmond running with the Acer (both 8″ and 10″ screens), and were very happy with them.  The Acer is available through Amazon, CostCo, and MicroCenter.