Category Archives: IT

Information Technology

Funny video about “enterprise class software”

I came across this outstanding and well-made video that spoofs “enterprise class vendors” and the way they do business:

I think what I find funniest about it, is the casting of Ray Wise. I’ll never forget him as Leland Palmer, and everything he does brings up that memory… if you’ve seen Twin Peaks you know exactly what I mean.


401.2 error with Exchange ActiveSync… solved

I have been struggling with a problem with ActiveSync for ages now, I kept getting a 401.2 error sent to the client when they would try to get their mail (but they could get their calendar). The problem was in the ISA server configuration. When I changed ISA’s access rule to be set to “Basic” authentication instead of “No delegation, but client may authenticate directly” the problem was solved.


How to restore “Minimize to system tray” in W7

Something that has been driving me bonkers in Windows 7 is that apps that used to minimize to the system tray, like Skype and Live Messenger, now have a full taskbar icon. I never could figure out how to get this solved, but I came across a solution today… go to the program’s executable, and bring up the properties. Select compatability mode, and choose “Vista Service Pack 2″. Restart the application, and it will now properly minimize to the system tray. This has been my one major annoyance with W7 so far, which is a pretty good track record in my book.


Can’t get Aero to turn back on after using Mikogo?

A few days ago, a vendor gave me a demo using Mikogo (good service, by the way). Like many similar screen sharing systems, it set my system to the “Windows Basic” settings and turned off Aero. Unfortunately, after I quit the application, it was still keeping my system in Windows Basic. A restart didn’t solve it. The Aero troubleshooter said that there was something using a mirror diver, but it wouldn’t say what, and no suspicious apps were running. After doing some research, I found an article about programming with mirror drivers that gave me a clue. On a hunch, I went to Device Manager, and sure enough, two new display devices had been added (bother said “Mirage Driver”, and one was showing an error). After uninstalling both devices and restarting, Aero worked fine.


How to perform a P2V conversion for FreeBSD to run on Hyper-V

One of my big projects with my personal server setup, was to turn my current physical FreeBSD server into a Hyper-V VM. Why would I do this? Don’t ask, because I don’t want to start a religous war here… let’s just say that as much as I like FreeBSD for a lot of purposes, I do not like living with it as a sys admin without a paycheck attached.

So, here’s how I went from FreeBSD on a physical machine (garbage x64 hardware) to a Hyper-V VM (Windows 2008 R2 on garbage x64 hardware).

  1. Upgrade the FreeBSD machine to version 8.0-RELEASE. This is mandatory.
  2. Get Hyper-V installed and configured, including enabling Intel VT in the BIOS.
  3. Shut down both machines. Transfer the physical hard drive from the FreeBSD machine to the Windows 2008 R2 machine. Turn on the 2008 R2 machine, and verify in Disk Management that the transferred drive is visible.
  4. Create a new Hyper-V VM for the machine, but do not specify a hard disk. Go back into the settings, and remove the NIC that was put into the VM. Do “Add new hardware” and select “Legacy Network Adapter”, and connect the new NIC to the network of choice.
  5. Create a new virtual disk. Select “Fixed” type, and on the next page in the wizard, tell it to copy the contents of a physical disk. Choose the disk you transferred from the FreeBSD machine.
  6. Go eat dinner, walk the dog, read a magazine. You’ll be here a while during the disk copy. To be on the safe side, go download the “Live FS” FreeBSD ISO appropriate for your installed FreeBSD version.
  7. Once the new virtual disk has been created, go back into the VM settings, move the optical drive to postion 1 on the IDE chain, and then add the newly created disk to the VM on position 0 on the IDE chain.
  8. Start the VM. If you receive errors like “Invalid slice”, you need to do the following:
    1. Insert the Live FS ISO into the virtual DVD drive and reboot the VM.
    2. Go to “Configure” and then “Fdisk”. Set the main drive slice (the big one) to be bootable, and then press “W” to write the information to disk. Before it writes, it will ask about a boot loader; choose the standard one, unless you have a good reason not to and know what you are doing.
    3. Exit the Live FS system, eject the ISO, and reboot the VM.

    This should take care of the “bad” boot loader.

  9. If the physical disk in the original server was not device “ad0” (for example, it was a SCSI drive or a RAID 1 member), then the system will spaz when you boot and drop to single user mode. Not to worry! In single user mode, do the following: (note: if you can’t even get into single user mode, boot off of the Live FS CD and use the “Fixit” shell)
    1. Re-mount the root partition as writeable with:mount -u /
      mount -a
      Likewise, mount /usr and /tmp with:
      mount /dev/ad0s1f /usr
      mount /dev/ad0s1e /tmp
    2. Now you can actually use your text editor of choice to edit /etc/fstab and set the references to the old drive to be references to the new drive as ad0. Do that and reboot.
  10. You are in the home stretch now! You should be booted into FreeBSD, albeit a crippled one, because the NIC isn’t configured. Go edit /etc/rc.conf and change the reference to your old NIC to be a reference to de0 (the NIC that Hyper-V provides). Reboot again, and you should be done!

This is what I did… it might not work 100% for you, for better or for worse.


The $330 and above netbook market is dead

It’s hard to believe that it was less than a year ago when higher end netbooks still commanded $600 and maybe even above.  But if you bought a netbook in the last month or two for $400 or more, this is a good time to kick yourself.  Last week a premium netbook should fetch well below $400, but that market just died with the arrival of cheap $400 Acer Aspire AS1410-2285 ultraportable.

The AS1410-2285 has the following notable specifications.

  • Dual-core 1.2 GHz SU2300 “CULV” processor
  • Intel GMA 4500MHD graphics chipset
  • 11.6″ LCD w/LED backlight
  • Full size keyboard
  • Windows 7 Home Premium x64 edition
  • VGA and HDMI port
  • 6-cell battery
  • Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11 a/b/g/n
  • 0.87″ to 1.18″ thick and 3.08 lbs
  • 160 GB 2.5″ SATA HDD
  • 2 GB RAM
  • Two real mouse buttons instead of a cheap imitation MacBook button that works like garbage.
  • Did NOT see anything about BlueTooth but you can buy one of those tiny dongles for $10 or less if you get a bargain.

This is the sort of specification that would have probably fetched close to $2000 just two years ago but the “race to the bottom” has been won by Acer.  While I’m sure this saddens those in the notebook industry, consumers are rejoicing.  I saw an ad over this weekend for a netbook with Windows 7 “Starter Edition” for $368 so I feel for the poor guy/gal who buys it.

It’s worth noting that the HP Mini 311 netbook with NVIDIA Ion still sells for $400.  While the NVIDIA Ion LE graphics chipset in the Mini 311 is about 79% faster than the GMA 4500MHD in 3DMark2006, the Atom CPU in the Mini 311 CPU is slower than a dual-core 1.2 GHz SU2300 especially for multi-thread optimized workloads.  So which product is better depends on your preferred workload, but I personally don’t take gaming on netbooks too seriously.

Windows 7 and Microsoft Network Monitor error solved

When I tried to start a capture using Microsoft Network Monitor 3.3 on Windows 7, I received the following error:

None of the network adapters are bound to the netmon driver.

If you have just installed, you may need to log out and log back in order to obtain the proper rights to capture.
Please refer to the product help for more information.

I’ve found that a simple “Run as Administrator…” resolves the problem. Sorry Wireshark users, that relies on a component (winpcap) which does not install on W7 at this time.