Saturday, April 29, 2006

Here we go -- Shared faster Internet Connection

PERM Project

free download that analyzes local airwaves and
exploits unused bandwidth from one network to complement ones experiencing heavy usage, but always gives users priority
access to their own signal.

"preserve a user's privacy
and security, and mitigate the free-riding problem."

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Sharing with your Neighbor just got Better

Software lets neighbors securely share WiFi bandwidth - Engadget

Now you can create a faster Internet with your neighbor's cooperation.  Of course, the system runs on Linux. :) 

I feel very strongly that America is one of the last countries in the world to get true high bandwidth to the house.  In South Korea, they get 10 Mbps and we are struggling to get 3 Mbps asynchronously with only 256-512 Kbps upload. 


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High Tech for Kids

Start-up aims to ditch kids' training wheels | CNET

Now I can be the geekiest father on the block.  My kid can use a gyroscope instead of training wheels.

Very cool. 


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WebOS -- So it begins

Go2web2: Sneak Peak at ajaxOS!

I haven't looked at the video yet but it looks very promising.  If they can deliver we are in some really great times. 


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Friday, April 28, 2006

Install Array Manager 3.7 for Dell OpenManage

How to install array manager 3.7 after Windows 2003 installation:

We need to do this because most of our servers were installed using Windows 2003 disks not Dell's OpenManage options.  Now we can really use this component and don't want to reinstall Windows.


it will self-extract to "C:\OpenManage"

Then At the command line type the following:

C:\OpenManage\windows\SystemsManagement\SysMgmt.msi ENABLEAM=YES

Choose custom install and disable everything except array manager.

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Podcasting for TV?

Democracy: Internet TV

I'm currently subscribed to DLTV, Cranky Geeks, and Diggnation.  (I still look for content from Revision's Systm)  I'll see if I like this interface better.


Skills, Skills, Skills

The Downside of Certification

Newsflash, employers are more interested in employee skills as opposed to certification acronyms. 

I have worked with a few MCSE employees during my 5 years in the industry.

One MCSE was hired over me with the intention of getting rid of me after I had trained him.  However, he didn't have enough hands on experience to know how to use UNC to quickly access another computer.  He also used Loftcrack to see what passwords were weak as one of his first system administrative duties.  This normally would show that the person was on the ball, but since he didn't use the information to strengthen passwords, I had my first funny taste in my mouth due to an unscrupulous administrator.  Another thing he taught me was how with admin rights you could read everybody's email without them knowing it.  These were all rights that I had but never even considered using.  He also taught me how much software was available on the Internet with serial numbers.  I understood that there was warez but again I never thought a business would want this shady binaries running around the network.  I did learn that most warez binaries were not virus infested, but that was only because we may have just been lucky.

After swallowing my pride I asked him how I could get my MCSE, I was told by my replacement that a bootcamp was the best way.

"After a week of cramming, you learn lots of the ins and outs of the test and the instuctor showed us where to go to get likely answers for the test"

This taught me that MCSE was only good as an indication on how well someone did on the test.  Nothing more, nothing less.  There are places on the Internet called something like screendump or memorydump, where people can rush after the test to write down all the questions they can remember and other people work out the answers online.

One of the best things I learned from this MCSE was that you don't have to be fearless to uproot and upgrade your entire infrastructure in a weekend as long as you were willing to work all weekend :)  Actually this changed the way I saw changing the servers.  The MCSE hired person was not afraid to read an article and upgrade from NT 4.0 to Windows 2000 server and active directory.  I was always trying to keep the network the same with very little change.  Now I understand that your network can have as much trouble from not updating and tweaking as from making changes and mistakes.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

RIS Backup

How to restore a volume that is managed by Single Instance Storage

We started seeing some problems with our Dell Server raid.  So now I want to make a single instance backup of the 3-4 images we have stored on the server.  It looks like there is no problem making the backup of RIS even though SIS does some funky disk saving techniques.  The problem only comes into play when you restore the device.


Some files are lost after you perform an RIS volume restore in Windows Server 2003

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Windows Vista

Boing Boing: VIsta's endless parade of warnings won't create security

I have heard a lot about Windows new Vista OS.  Most of what I hear makes me excited that Microsoft has finally changed the way that they produce operating systems.  Vista is designed to be modular following the Linux and MacOSX lead.  This is very exciting, in fact, when Microsoft declared that WinFS wouldn't ship but will be downloadable as an upgrade, you can thank modular design.

However, the biggest problem I have with Windows Vista is the constant barage of warning dialog boxes that will only train users to ignore dialog boxes and always accept the 'Yes' button.  I was hoping that Microsoft would use the 'sudo' type command that Linux and MacOSX use under their graphical frontends.

I've tried to explain to a fellow Windows Admin how 'sudo' is better than 'runas' but there is some type of disconnect until someone actually uses the tool.  RunAs allows a user to change thier security context and elevate their permissions.  The problem with RunAs is that you will need 2 accounts in order to run as a normal user and administer your machine.

Under sudo, when you attempt to change something that needs root/ admin permission, then you elevate your permissions for that instance of the application.  MacOSX does this even better than Linux by making it seemless.  Under Linux, you have to know what applications need root permission and then run that command with a prefix of 'sudo'.  Then you will be asked for your user password (no account change) then sudo will open the application as the administrator because your account was listed as an administrative account.  MacOSX does this even better by somehow integrating the failure based on permission to the password window.  It is possible that MacOSX just has every icon that needs admin priviledges linked to the sudo application but regardless, you get a smoother operation.

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Monday, April 24, 2006

Kqemu in Ubuntu Breezy

Nando Florestan: Article / Installing KQEMU in Ubuntu

Here is a great script to ease the installation of kqemu (the closed source kernel module to speed up qemu). This is a open source virtualization software piece that allows you to run Windows on Linux like VMware. You do need to use up a full license of Windows to run this as opposed to running Windows applications through Wine.
[Nando Florestan's] shell script 

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

The Legal Bitorrent?


Here is a media company that used Bitorrent type technology to distribute HD quality movies at reasonable speeds.


Friday, April 21, 2006

Whole House Automation With Linux

MythTV + Asterisk + Home Secrity + and more = PlutoHome (TOTAL FREE)

Pluto is the only all-in-one solution for your home that seamlessly combines media & entertainment, home automation, security, telecom and computing. You can control your whole house with a mobile phone, a touch-screen tablet or a web-interface. A Pluto system is like an appliance - not a computer. It is self-configuring, maintaining and updating.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

SMS Charting

After getting SMS 2003 installed and working, we decided to start playing with reporting.  It didn't take long before we ran into this error when trying to view a graph:

This report has a chart, but the Microsoft Office Web Components required to
view charts are not installed on the Reporting Point. Please contact your
administrator. - Charting with Office Web Components (OWC)

Now we have to go through the process of looking up the licensing necessary for Office Web Components (OWC).  Apparently SMS relies on this component for graphing the web reports.

OFF2000: Licensing the Office 2000 Web Components and Office Server Extensions

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Monday, April 17, 2006

IT Policy

Admin Guide for the IT domain

I really liked how this policy was written up.  We are in the process of creating our policy for our division.  We have a very sharp director that is moving us from a mix-match service team into a well designed department. 



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Populating a Scheduled task throughout the Domain

Anyone know how to do this? It would be pretty handy to schedule a weekly defrag in one shot.
Edit or Delete Message Edit the default domain policy to include a logon batch file that sets what you need with 'at' ?  Then remove the logon script later?
Add a line to your login script that says something like quote:
at 3:00 /every:su "defrag c: -f >> defrag.txt

Creating a scheduled task for an entire domain - Topic Ars OpenForum


Big question, what happens when a computer runs that command more than once.  Answer: It creates the job again, and again, and again -- This is the shoot and spray tactic.

Maybe the direction should be adding this command through a group policy. 

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Saturday, April 15, 2006

Wine Journey

I'm trying to install and run Ultimate Spider-Man. I attempted to install it on my main family Windows XP computer only to find out that the game needs a true graphics card from either Nvidia or ATI.

I have an Nvidia card on my basement workstation but I only have Ubuntu Linux installed on it. Now I have a couple of choices: Move partitions around and allow my basement computer to dual-boot, Install Windows XP on a virtual machine like Qemu or VMware, or get wine to run the application on Linux.

Since I am a glutton for punishment, I opted for running Ultimate Spider-Man through wine. My first error was a problem with the ALLUSERSPROFILE environmental variable.

Specifically: err:msi:deformat_environment Unknown environment variable L"ALLUSERSPROFILE" Edit .wine/system.reg file.
"USERPROFILE"="c:\\windows\\profiles\\jrasmussen0" /original line

"ALLUSERSPROFILE"="c:\\windows\\profiles\\All Users" /added

Wine Internal Failure Message Internal Failure Error Number: 0x80040707

Random Note: NX for Windows doesn't pass the Print Screen button to Linux and only allows for a full screen capture on the Windows clipboard.

wine Setup/rsrc/usm.exe -- runs the Macromedia Flash installer but this is useless

wine setup.exe /S /v/qn -- runs the installer in silent mode

Apparently the ALLUSERSPROFILE error was a red hering.  I came up with the same error with this detail:
err:msi:MSI_ViewFetch failed to get stream
fixme:msi:ACTION_HandleStandardAction unhandled standard action L"ValidateProductID"

err:ole:dispatch_rpc no apartment found for ipid {ffffffff-ffff-ffff-2900-00000c000000}
err:rpc:I_RpcReceive we got fault packet with status 6be
err:ole:dispatch_rpc no apartment found for ipid {ffffffff-ffff-ffff-2900-00000c000000}
err:rpc:I_RpcReceive we got fault packet with status 6be
err:ole:dispatch_rpc no apartment found for ipid {ffffffff-ffff-ffff-2900-00000c000000}
err:rpc:I_RpcReceive we got fault packet with status 6be

This probably means I will move onto testing VMware first then creating a dual-boot machine. 

Friday, April 7, 2006

VPN Overhead


Q13: How does the use of encryption affect
the performance of a network connection?

The use of encryption adds some additional overhead to a session.
Most VPN devices, whether hardware or software based, will be able to process
encryption for connections up to 10baseT speeds. On a lower speed connection
like a modem, VPN processing is much faster than delays introduced by the limited
bandwidth availability.

Often performance is potentially affected more by packet loss
and latency on bad Internet connections than by the encryption overhead.


Which means that performance is most affected by the quality of your internet connection.  The ISP you choose is very important for packet loss.  Some ISP's will shape (slow) traffic to block VOIP if it competes with their own and some will block any and all business class traffic.

Who do you use for your ISP?

Another note for Cisco VPN's



After making a VPN Client connection, some traffic types no longer work. Specifically applications that send large packets like SMTP, HTTP, and SSH.

The 2.6.4 Kernel enabled a feature of certain Ethernet cards that discards packets larger than the configured MTU. Since the VPN Client lowers the MTU visible to the applications in order to add its overhead without exceeding the original MTU, the resulting packets are bigger than the newly configured MTU. Therefore the card throws out the large encrypted packets.



To get a rough estimate of what kind of overhead the VPN will have on your
traffic, you can use the ttcp command and compare throughput.

Using VTun as an example, we first measure the normal throughput. We will
send some data (in this case, the Linux kernel sources) over and measure its
performance. First, we test the connection between the two VPN machines, Bears
and Falcons, using their public IP addresses. This tests the actual connection
of the machines without any of the VPN overhead. The non-VPN IP addresses we are
using are and

bears# ./ttcp -t < ../linux-2.4.12.tar.bz2
ttcp-t: buflen=8192, nbuf=2048, align=16384/0, port=5001 tcp ->
ttcp-t: socket
ttcp-t: connect

ttcp-t: 21508430 bytes in 26.00 real seconds = 807.94 KB/sec +++

The last line of the output gives us a throughput of 807.94 KB/s. Next, we
run the same tests but use the VPN IP addresses this time, and By using these addresses, we will be sending data over the VPN.

bears# ./ttcp -t < ../linux-2.4.12.tar.bz2
ttcp-t: buflen=8192, nbuf=2048, align=16384/0, port=5001 tcp ->
ttcp-t: socket
ttcp-t: connect

ttcp-t: 21508430 bytes in 29.59 real seconds = 709.78 KB/sec +++

As you can see, the throughput this time is 709.78 KB/s. There is a
throughput loss of almost 100 KB/s due to VPN overhead. The numbers you receive
in your testing will vary, but you get the idea. You can get ttcp from


Ruby on Rails Critique

Ruby on Rails will never become mainstream


Otaku, Cedric's weblog: Why Ruby on Rails won't become mainstream

I too, love Ruby on Rails. This fits with an underlying feeling about the Ruby language.

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Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Continuing with the ActiveX issue

MICROSOFT SYSTEMS MANAGEMENT SERVER (SMS) Installer helps systems administrators automate application distribution. You can use this SMS program to consistently and efficiently deploy software packages to your users without having to install the software on each computer manually. (For information about SMS, see "Related Articles in Windows NT Magazine," page 62.)SMS Installer works the same way NT's Sysdiff works. First, SMS Installer takes a snapshot of the system. Then, it installs the software. Finally, it takes another snapshot and searches for differences between the two snapshots' directories and Registries. In SMS Installer's Installation Expert mode, SMS Installer compiles the differences into an executable (.exe) file, and you build an SMS job that applies the file to target systems. The Installation Expert mode is a graphical interface that lets you set up the package via a series of dialog boxes. SMS Installer's other mode is the Script Editor, which lets you build complete scripts or edit the scripts that SMS Installer builds. You must learn a new scripting language and spend time writing, testing, and debugging scripts to use this mode. Therefore, I don't recommend the Script Editor for everyday use. In situations in which SMS Installer isn't powerful enough, you need to purchase a third-party product such as Seagate Software's WinINSTALL 6.0. (For information about WinINSTALL, see Stephen Garwood's sidebar "WinINSTALL 6.0," page 60.) However, SMS Installer comes free with SMS, and the tool will probably suffice for your application-distribution needs. . . .

SMS Installer

I quoted most of this article because of the annoying in-your-face advertisements.

SMS Installer Download

I started down this road because I found out that Microsoft supports an ActiveX deployment through Active Directory, but you need to create msi packages for the ActiveX controls, not cab files.  And here was the first site listed for comparing choices for creating MSI packages


Removing a User in a Linux Environment

Removing A User | HowtoForge - Linux Howtos and Tutorials

Here is another note to myself on how to effectively remove a user from a system. 

Here is a quicker method but it is good to know the background:  deluser

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