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We’re Headed to BlogWorld 2009 Las Vegas, Are You?

This year marks our 3rd year attending the BlogWorld & New Media Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada 150and we’re excited. If you’re attending this year, be sure to stop by the ServerBeach booth #411 to say hello to our staff and pick up some cool Beach swag.

The 2009 BlogWorld & New Media Expo will take place at the Las Vegas Convention Center, beginning with the exclusive “Social Media Business Summit”(TM) conference on October 15th and continuing with the BlogWorld & New Media Expo and Conference October 16th-17th. This is first and only industry-wide trade show, conference, and media event dedicated to promoting the dynamic industry of new media including: Blogging, Podcasting, Social Media, Online Video, Music, TV, Radio, Gaming, Entertainment and Communities. In addition to the only industry-wide new media industry exhibition, BlogWorld & New Media Expo features the largest new media conference in the world including more than 50 seminars, panel discussions and keynotes from iconic personalities on the leading-edge of online technology and internet-savvy business.

BlogWorld & New Media Expo. Located in the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center at: 3150 Paradise Road, Las Vegas, NV 89109

You Never Hear From It. It Stays Hidden Quietly Behind the Scenes. Do you know your BIOS?

What exactly does the BIOS do and why do you need to become familiar with it? When you bioshost with ServerBeach, this is something that you’ll never need to deal with or worry about. But if you have to configure the BIOS on a computer that you’ve purchased for home or personal use and you find yourself lost or a little confused on what exactly you need to do, we hope this information will provide a little insight. Let’s start by describing the role of the BIOS.

The BIOS software has a number of different roles. The most important role is to load the Operating System. When you turn on your computer, the microprocessor tries to execute its first instruction, it has to get that instruction from somewhere. It cannot get it from the Operating System because the Operating System is located on a hard disk, and the microprocessor cannot get to it without some instructions that tell it how. The BIOS provides those instructions. Some of the other common tasks that the BIOS performs include:

  • A power-on self-test (POST) for all of the different hardware components in the system to make sure everything is working properly.
  • Activating other BIOS chips on different cards installed in the computer – For example, SCSI and graphics cards often have their own BIOS chips.
  • Providing a set of low-level routines that the operating system uses to interface to different hardware devices – It is these routines that give the BIOS its name. They manage things like the keyboard, the screen, and the serial and parallel ports, especially when the computer is booting.
  • Managing a collection of settings for the hard disks, clock, etc.

The BIOS is special software that interfaces the major hardware components of your computer with the operating system. It is usually stored on a Flash memory chip on the motherboard, but sometimes the chip is another type of ROM.

So now that you’re familiar with the role of the BIOS, let’s look at some of the steps the BIOS goes through to get your computer ready to run.

Whenever you turn on your computer, the first thing you see is the BIOS software doing its thing. On many machines, the BIOS displays text describing things like the amount of memory installed in your computer, the type of hard disk and so on. It turns out that, during this boot sequence, the BIOS is doing a remarkable amount of work to get your computer ready to run. This section briefly describes some of those activities for a typical PC.

After checking the CMOS Setup and loading the interrupt handlers, the BIOS determines whether the video card is operational. Most video cards have a miniature BIOS of their own that initializes the memory and graphics processor on the card. If they do not, there is usually video driver information on another ROM on the motherboard that the BIOS can load.

Next, the BIOS checks to see if this is a cold boot or a reboot. It does this by checking the value at memory address 0000:0472. A value of 1234h indicates a reboot, and the BIOS skips the rest of POST. Anything else is considered a cold boot.

If it is a cold boot, the BIOS verifies RAM by performing a read/write test of each memory address. It checks the PS/2 ports or USB ports for a keyboard and a mouse. It looks for a peripheral component interconnect PCI bus and, if it finds one, checks all the PCI cards. If the BIOS finds any errors during the POST, it will notify you by a series of beeps or a text message displayed on the screen. An error at this point is almost always a hardware problem.

The BIOS then displays some details about your system. This typically includes information about:

  • The processor
  • The floppy drive and hard drive
  • Memory
  • BIOS revision and date
  • Display

Any special drivers, such as the ones for small computer system interface adapters, are loaded from the adapter, and the BIOS displays the information. The BIOS then looks at the sequence of storage devices identified as boot devices in the CMOS Setup. “Boot” is short for “bootstrap,” as in the old phrase, “Lift yourself up by your bootstraps.” Boot refers to the process of launching the operating system. The BIOS will try to initiate the boot sequence from the first device. If the BIOS does not find a device, it will try the next device in the list. If it does not find the proper files on a device, the start-up process will halt. If you have ever left a disk  when you restarted your computer, you have probably seen the message “Non system disk or disk error. Replace and strike any key when ready.” The BIOS has tried to boot the computer off of the disk left in the drive. Since it did not find the correct system files, it could not continue. Of course, this is an easy fix. Simply pop out the disk and press a key to continue.

In the previous list, you saw that the BIOS checks the CMOS Setup for custom settings. Here’s what you do to change those settings.

To enter the CMOS Setup, you must press a certain key or combination of keys during the initial startup sequence. Most systems use “Esc,” “Del,” “F1,” “F2,” “Ctrl-Esc” or “Ctrl-Alt-Esc” to enter setup. There is usually a line of text at the bottom of the display that tells you “Press ___ to Enter Setup.”

Once you have entered setup, you will see a set of text screens with a number of options. Some of these are standard, while others vary according to the BIOS manufacturer. Common options include:

* System Time/Date – Set the system time and date
* Boot Sequence – The order that BIOS will try to load the operating system
* Plug and Play – A standard for auto-detecting connected devices; should be set to “Yes” if your computer and operating system both support it
* Mouse/Keyboard – “Enable Num Lock,” “Enable the Keyboard,” “Auto-Detect Mouse”…
* Drive Configuration – Configure hard drives, CD-ROM and floppy drives
* Memory – Direct the BIOS to shadow to a specific memory address
* Security – Set a password for accessing the computer
* Power Management – Select whether to use power management, as well as set the amount of time for standby and suspend
* Exit – Save your changes, discard your changes or restore default settings

Be very careful when making changes to setup. Incorrect settings may keep your computer from booting. When you are finished with your changes, you should choose “Save Changes” and exit. The BIOS will then restart your computer so that the new settings take effect.

The BIOS uses CMOS technology to save any changes made to the computer’s settings. With this technology, a small lithium or Ni-Cad battery can supply enough power to keep the data for years. In fact, some of the newer chips have a 10-year, tiny lithium battery built right into the CMOS chip.

We’d like to thank HowStuffWorks for the above information. If you’d like to learn how to update your BIOS or learn more about “How Stuff Works“, we encourage you to head on over to their website full of informative articles and screen shots to help get you in-the-know on just about anything and everything.

PEER 1 Finalist for Company of the Year Award

logo-tiaThe BC Technology Industry Association (BCTIA) announced the finalists for the 2009 Technology Impact Awards and our parent company, PEER 1 is one of two companies up for Company of the Year. Marking the awards’ 15th year, the 2009 finalists reaffirm British Columbia’s status as a global leader in innovative software solutions, mobile communications, and energy conservation technologies. We’re very excited and honored to be recognized by the association. More importantly, it is a testament to the hard work and tireless dedication of our staff throughout the years. Our congratulations to the other award finalist, Sierra Wireless. Winners will be announced on June 17th at the Technology Impact Awards Celebration, at the new state-of-the-art Vancouver Convention Centre, amongst 700 guest.

Read BCTIA press release

You’re On My Shirt! cPanel

cpanel exposed!

Running a web server has never been made more simple!  cPanel’s feature rich administration takes the burden out of web hosting. With this control panel, all aspects of web hosting are easily manageable allowing you to set up and manage accounts, view your disk space usage, monitor your bandwidth, and so much more.

Not only does cPanel make web hosting a breeze, it lets you to put your customers in control allowing you the freedom to service more customers. When it comes to DNS, Mail, FTP, CGI scripts, who wants to spend their days fiddling around trying to make all this work flawlessly and seamlessly? Who has time? That’s an easy one! The answer is cPanel.

ServerBeach and cPanel share a common goal. Our goal is to provide our customers with the tools that they need to be successful. This common goal is what makes the relationship between ServerBeach and cPanel a smart one. If you’re in the business of web hosting or if you’re looking into getting started, give cPanel a look today!

You’re On My Shirt! SIRE Technologies

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SIRE Technologies provides a multitude of innovative content management solutions for businesses today. Known for their outstanding customer service, SIRE Technologies understands how important information is to every organization and strives to help your business succeed by offering modules for scanning and imaging, ECM, workflow and forms automation, enterprise report management and so much more, which in turn allows your organization to run smoothly and efficiently in every way possible.

SIRE Technologies is about People, Products and Promises working together to pave the way for our clients to achieve outcomes they never dreamed were possible.”

SIRE Technologies, Inc. is a complete solution provider with over 20 years of experience in providing efficient document management and agenda automation solutions. Their turnkey solutions address document imaging and indexing needs, data conversion, electronic document and records management, agenda and minutes automation, and streaming video. Streaming media can be time-stamped, indexed, and made available to the public live or archived using one of the fastest and most reliable networks in the world.

Get on My Shirt and I’ll Expose Your Business

charnell4I’m launching a new feature on this blog to give your business some added exposure. It’s called “You’re on My Shirt”.

Every week I will post a picture of me wearing a client’s branded T-shirt along with a description of your business and a friendly link to your site or blog.

So what’s the catch, you ask? Nothing really. To be featured, all you have to do is be a current ServerBeach client and mail or courier me a T-shirt with your company name on the front and/or back… and that’s it! BTW, size MEDIUM please.

The ServerBeach Blog has a loyal following and is viewed daily by many online users. This new feature is a way for us to extend some love to our clients and get you some more free exposure.

To get on my shirt, fire off an e-mail to me and I’ll reply back right away with some details and questions about your business, as well as an address to send me your T-shirt.

Be the first one to get featured!

Charnell Pugsley
Community Evangelist
cpugsley@peer1.com

Hosting Providers, We Challenge You to a Race

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PEER 1 President, Fabio Banducci

As many of you know, our parent company PEER 1 participated in the 24 Hours of Lemons endurance race in Kershaw, South Carolina last year. We will be participating in this event again this year at the No Problem Raceway in Belle Rose Louisiana, June 6th to 7th.

This year, PEER 1 is planning something a little different. This year, we are challenging all hosting providers in the state of Texas. Yes, you read correctly: WE WANT YOU!

Are you up to the challenge? Do you have what it takes to participate against PEER 1 in the 24 Hours of Lemons race? Join us June 5th  and 6th at the No Problem Raceway in Belle Rose, Louisiana and let’s find out! So what is 24 Hours of Lemons?

Nasty. Brutish. Not Short Enough.

The crowd. The spectacle. The pall of blue smoke and roasted clutch discs. In all motorsport, no event captures the universal human need to whale on old crapcans and hoover down greasy barbecue like the 24 Hours of LeMons.

Each LeMons race is for cars purchased, fixed up, and track-prepped for a total of 500 dollars or less. But before reaching the grid, you’ll have to survive trials like the Personal-Injury-Lawyer Anti-Slalom, the Marxist-Valet Parking Challenge, and the Wide Open Throttle Rodthrowapalooza. Twelve hours into the race, the car voted People’s Choice is called in and awarded a cash prize; simultaneously, the car voted People’s Curse is called in and summarily destroyed. At the end of 24 hours, a gala awards ceremony plies the survivors with trophies, plaques, and four-figure purses in canvas bags full of nickels. What’s not to like?” — 24 Hours of Lemons website

For requirements, rules, and fees, please visit http://www.24hoursoflemons.com. For track information and location, visit http://www.noproblemraceway.com. For information on the PEER 1 race challenge, contact:

Charnell Pugsley
Community Evangelist
cpugsley@peer1.com
210-798-4413