RStudio does not detect R

I recently had a user contact me to have R and RStudio installed. I downloaded and installed them both, and thought that would be the end of it. As it turned out, it wasn’t. When she went to run RStudio, this message popped up:

Choose R Installation

Choose R Installation

Neither default versions worked, and when we browsed to where they were installed, no executable could be found (though we saw it just fine when browsing the folder). I noticed, however, that R had not been installed to C:\Program Files\, but rather to the user’s Documents folder. I ran the installation once more, this time as administrator, making sure that R was installed to C:\Program Files\. Lo and behold; when we next ran RStudio, it started up, no mention of any problems.

Security database trust relationship revisited

A little over a year ago, I showed you how to fix a broken trust relationship between the client computer and Active Directory. That post has since received a number of comments, and I will address some of them below:

@Uncle Reggie: Yeah right, and lose your entire profile and everything you have ever installed. Oh, sure, there are ways to get it back (most of it), but it isn’t pleasant. If you follow this advice, don’t be surprised when you log in to find a brand-spanking new desktop and all of your programs and documents and favorites gone.

As I said in my response to the original comment, I have literally never seen it happen, and can find no sources on the web discussing it either. I am still calling bullshit on the claim; Uncle Reggie does not know of that which he speaks.

@Doug: This solution will resolve the issue but it will NOT prevent the issue from happening again. We need to determine WHY the issue is happening so we can resolve the root cause and not get use a ban-daid and just remove and add it to the domain.

I agree that a proper fix would be great. The cause should be researched if time allows, however, I have found that the fix usually also means that the problem does not reappear. There are two well-known exceptions to this rule. The first is when the trust relationship breaks because the computer has been out of contact with Active Directory for so long that the account expires – this we can do little or nothing to prevent, and we should simply fix if whenever we see it.

The second is when the computer account in Active Directory becomes corrupted. This one can be resolved by deleting the computer account. If that does not help, the computer should be removed from the domain, given a new computer name, and rejoined to the domain.

@Stanley Sikondwama: This can work just fine if you can log in! If you cannot (because the administratot account has been disabled) then you have had it! What is the solution in a situation like that?

It is true that many SysAdmins set up computers, disabling the built-in administrator account. When doing so, it is best practice to create a new, local, account, with full local administrative privileges, which has another name. If you have not done so, and no local accounts are set up, you are in trouble. A solution has, however, been provided for us by @Rocketman:

@StanTheMan, download Ntpass at http://pogostick.net/~pnh/ntpasswd/and create a bootable CD from the ISO. Boot from the CD which will allow you to change passwords and also enable disabled account.

 

Reviewed: the Goal

Last week, I reviewed the Phoenix Project. Here are my thoughts on its predecessor:

Author: Eliyahu M. Goldratt
Publisher: North River Press
Year: 1984
ISBN: 9780884271789
Length: 362 pages

Having read the Phoenix Project, I wanted to read its predecessor, to see what lessons could be learned from it. As it turns out, there is quite a bit to be learned. An even better read the the Phoenix Projectthe Goal centres around a manufacturing plant in dire straits. By taking a close look at work in progress, bottlenecks and planning of work, the plant managers are able to get more profitable results at lower costs.

An inspiring read, this, too, is worth reading, if nothing else, then to see the similarities – and differences – between it and the Phoenix Project.

Reviewed: the Phoenix Project

A while back, a friend of mine tipped me off to this book, and said it was a book I should read. Here are my thoughts.

Author: Gene Kim, Kevin Behr and  George Spafford
Publisher: IT Revolution Press
Year: 2013
ISBN: 9780988262591
Length: 345 pages

An IT Operations department in dire straits, facing the very real possibility of layoffs and outsourcing, starts to turn the ship around, implementing processes as needed in this inspiring fictionalized account. The IT version of Eli Goldratts bestselling book the Goalthe Phoenix Project shows not only how to use process tools such as ITIL and Kanban to turn a situation around, but also what insights are needed to successfully do so.

It should come as no surprise to readers of this blog that I am a big believer in ITIL, and I recently wrote about my thoughts on Kanban in an IT Operations setting. This book is an interesting look at how things can be turned around, and a good read, too. I heartily recommend it.

Reviewed: Fish

Some time ago, I was handed this book by my manager, and told to read, understand and internalize its lessons. Here are my thoughts on the book:

Author: Stephen C. Lundin, Harry Paul, John Christensen and Ken Blanchard 
Publisher: Hyperion
Year: 2000
ISBN: 9780786888825
Length: 112 pages

Lundin, Christensen and Blanchard weave a fictionalized story as the backdrop to the lessons they have to teach in this book. We are introduced to Mary Jane Ramirez, a single mother, managing a backoffice outfit at a bank, described by most people as a “toxic energy dump”. Following an encounter at Seattle’s Pike Place Fish Market, she decided to turn it around, and to teach her employees a few lessons in the process.

Throughout the book, the lessons offered by the FISH! Philosophy are emphasized by the story. The narrative, while ordinary and fairly predictable, serves its purpose well; it is not there for its literary qualities, but rather as the delivery vehicle.  The book is short, and fairly well written. The lessons it teaches are ones that anyone can stand to learn, and most of us need a reminder every now and again.

Kanban in an IT Operations setting

A while back, I participated in a discussion about the application of Kanban in an IT Operations setting. Here are some of my thoughts on the matter:

I strongly believe there are three keywords to keep in mind when thinking about process design:

  • Practicability – What is the learning curve for using the process?
  • Repeatability – How well is the process documented?
  • Measurability – How well are we actually using the process?

The process must be simple enough that you want to use it. It should be documented well enough that someone from the outside can understand it. KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) must be well-defined, and build up under CSFs (Critical Success Factors). Finally, any cumbersome and elaborate process will not be followed, as other ways to work will be chosen and used.

Kanban, Scrum and Lean are all interesting process tools, and can all undoubtedly have a place in IT Operations, as well as in IT Development. Like Ole Kirk Christiansen, I believe that the best will do. That said, we must not let the search for perfection become the enemy of that which is good enough. If you find a tool that might work in the here and now; start using it. If it turns out not to be expedient, find something else. Above all; do not be afraid to try something out, only to see it fail. Instead; fail quickly!

MS Excel: Create PDF of active worksheet

I recently had a user call in and ask me how he could export the contents of a single worksheet to PDF while working in Microsoft Excel 2010. As I told him, that is a simple feat to achieve. Here is how:

  1. Click File, then Save as…
  2. Change the format in which to save to PDF
  3. Click the Options-button that will have appeared
  4. Select what to save to PDF

You are not only offered the opportunity to export an active worksheet, you can also choose to export only a selection within the active worksheet.

Google Accounts: Responding to calendar invites on behalf of other email addresses

Here’s the scenario: You have set up your main email address to forward to your GMail address. Whenever you get calendar invites, you are unable to accept them, because they have been sent to your main email address, and not your GMail address. If that sounds familiar, I have good news: this can be fixed, and the fix is fairly straightforward. Here’s what you do:

  1. Log on to your Google Account
  2. Go to Google Calendar
  3. Click the Gear icon and choose Settings
  4. Select the Calendars tab
  5. Click Reminders and Notifications next to your primary calendar
  6. Under Alternate email address, check the box next to “Allow me to respond to event invitations forwarded from these addresses. My attendance response will come from youraddress@gmail.com

That should do it.

SPSS: The SAVE command has succeeded. However…

A while back, I had a user call in and tell me that he was editing a document in SPSS, and went to save his progress to the original file, when he got the following error:

The SAVE command has succeeded. However, due to contention for the specified file, the data have been saved to a file with a different name. Saved to: location\filename.sav

 

He further reported that the file specified was the one he was working on, and the file size had been reduced to 0kB. Looking into it, I found that this is a challenge for SPSS users for years, and is most likely caused by SPSS locking the original file, and in turn being unable to save to the same file. Knowing this, a workaround presents itself: save your work as a new file, then close and rename. Cumbersome? Sure. It will, however, prevent you from losing data.