Thursday, March 24, 2011

Kuddos for Intel's App Store

Angry Birds - Check out this app from the Intel AppUp(SM) center

I was looking into getting Angry Birds installed on something other than my phone so that my kids wouldn't always want to take away my phone. I had heard that Intel created a new App Store (Trademarked by Apple, really?) and when I went there looking to install a Windows binary, I was pleasently surprised to find a nice little sh script to install. Unfortunately, it didn't install on the current Ubuntu without a problem. It looks like it is trying to install an rpm because I have alien installed. When I have some time maybe I can help troubleshoot the issue and submit a bug report.

Angry Birds

Upgraded Droid Incredible to Cyanogen 7.0 RC2

I was finally able to upgrade my phone to Cyanogen 7.0 RC2 after a number of failed attempts. I would keep getting an error about a bad character in the script.
I:Checking for extendedcommand...
I:Running extendedcommand...
Waiting for SD Card to mount (20s)
SD Card mounted...
I:Running script:
ui_print("ROM Manager Version");
ui_print("Preparing to install ROM...");
run_program("/sbin/touch", "/tmp/.installscript");
line 1: unexpected character at 'u'
Syntax error in update script
I first tried a couple of ways to fix this with a fix permissions, wipe cache, then wipe dalvik cache, but in the end, I ended up expanding the SD partition to the maximum size which made me lose all of my backups.  As dumb luck would have it when I forced the install of the zip from SD (both the cyanogen and google apps zips) I ended up with a non working device.  I kept seeing the skateboarding Android for about 4-5 minutes before he would skate up again and again.  I decided that I needed to perform a factory reset from within the clockworkmod recovery.  Afterwards, I had a very nicely operating Cyanogen 7.0.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

SCCM 2007 Notes

SCCM 2007 was migrated to new hardware correctly. I did have a number of issues with Active Directory and Local Computer Group permissions that had to be fixed but all-in-all the migration worked.

I found out in the process of migrating and trying to troubleshoot SCCM errors related to the migration that I was able to solve a couple of problems that we apparently had on the old server. The first issue was with WSUS SP2. I have used WSUS for a long time and tried keeping the database by upgrading through the different service packs and releases. Apparently, the database became out-of-sync with the correct version and needed to be replaced.

We also started getting an error "SMS WSUS Synchronization failed. Message: The operation has timed out." and it looks like the advise listed below should work by clearing out the existing software update entries.

Software updates not working after changing the central parent (all expired)

  • [HYT00][0][Microsoft][ODBC SQL Server Driver]Timeout expired
    This error is indicative of an issue with connectivity to the WSUS database and not any type of error downloading the update from the internet. You should check on the health of your SQL Server instance as well as the SUSDB database. Make sure permissions are also in tact and that the SPN still exists if using a remote SQL Server which is not running as local SYSTEM.
    i logged onto my WSUS db and everything seemed fine. so i completely uninstalled WSUS from the central site (deleted the SUSDB database mbd file, and all downloaded updates) and reinstalled. no luck, still getting the same error
  • Monday, December 06, 2010 11:51 PMomniwolfUsers MedalsUsers MedalsUsers MedalsUsers MedalsUsers Medals
    It seems related to a known issue. Please backup your database and run the following SQL Command on your Site server:
    Delete from CI_ConfigurationItems Where CIType_ID in (1, 6, 8);
    Update CI_SDMPackages set IsDeleted = 1 where SourceSite = ;
    Exec sp_DeleteOldSDMPackageData 0;
    It will clear out the esisting software update entries.
    Hope it helps.

    i will give this a try, thanks!

MAPI Plugin Ubuntu Exchange 2003 2007 Evolution Ubuntu | Double Tall Iced Mocha, Lite on the Chocolate

MAPI Plugin Ubuntu Exchange 2003 2007 Evolution Ubuntu | Double Tall Iced Mocha, Lite on the Chocolate

I had the same issue trying to use evolution-mapi on Ubuntu and once I used an IP address for the Exchange 2007 server, all was good.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Fukushima Nuclear Power

Fukushima Nuclear Accident – a simple and accurate explanation « BraveNewClimate
I have been reading every news release on the incident since the earthquake. There has not been one single (!) report that was accurate and free of errors (and part of that problem is also a weakness in the Japanese crisis communication). By “not free of errors” I do not refer to tendentious anti-nuclear journalism – that is quite normal these days. By “not free of errors” I mean blatant errors regarding physics and natural law, as well as gross misinterpretation of facts, due to an obvious lack of fundamental and basic understanding of the way nuclear reactors are build and operated. I have read a 3 page report on CNN where every single paragraph contained an error.
This fits with what I understand about the physics of radioactivity after taking the free course Physics for future Presidents by Richard A. Muller.

I wish that every story about radioactivity would have to contain the fact that no substance can "catch" radioactivity by being by another radioactive particle. The only way for a substance to be radioactive is if the molecule is inherently unstable by location in the periodic table. If you see concern over water used within a nuclear power plant, it is because water can dissolve parts of the radioactive materials not because the water has in any way become radioactive itself.

"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and other fiction are to blame for America's current misunderstanding of nuclear science. I don't understand why my high school physics class didn't cover anything about radioactive science.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Migrating SCCM 2007 from Windows 2003 to 2008 on New Hardware

We needed to move some hardware around to save money on purchasing a new riser card for an LTO tape drive upgrade.  That gave us the opportunity to migrate off of Windows 2003 32-bit and test our recovery steps on SCCM 2007.  Our current environment was using SQL 2005 and we wanted to use SQL 2008 specifically for reporting services.

Here are the steps that worked for me and my coworker Kevin:

  1. Shutdown all SMS services and set them to disabled. (Don't want to restart machine and make changes to SCCM)  
  2. Upgrade SQL 2005 to SQL 2008 R2 on old machine.
  3. Shutdown all SQL services and set them to disabled.
  4. Backup up SCCM 2007 databases *.mdf and *.ldf files for SMS_001 (Check for file locations by right-clicking on SMS_001 in SQL Management Studio and clicking on file)
  5. Change computer name of the old computer to something like SCCM2 instead of SCCM
    1. Turn off old computer.
  6. Build Windows 2008 R2 64-bit on the new machine.  Name computer name SCCM but keep in mind that all permissions that were set are now set for SCCM2 based on the SID.
  7. Install SQL 2008 R2.
  8. Install SCCM 2007 SP1.  Reuse same Site ID and Site Name (as long as services are off on the old computer this should not have problems)
  9. Upgrade to SCCM 2007 R2 (match the version level of the old machine)
  10. Verify that everything installed correctly by logging into the Config Manger console.
  11. Shutdown all SCCM services temporarily.
  12. In SQL Management Studio change the name of the SMS_SiteCode database to something like SMS_SiteCode_new.
    1. Right-Click and attach the old database files that are in the same location as on the old SCCM computer
    2. We had permission problems on our c:\SQL_logs  folder where the folder was set for read-only.
  13. If the new database looks attached correctly as SMS_SiteCode, then go ahead and start up all SCCM services
  14. You should be able to log into Config Manager now and see some errors about Active Directory permissions under SMS_Site_Component_Manager.
    1. Go to Active Directory Computers and Users
      1. Select "Advanced Features" under the View Menu
    2. Expand "System" object
    3. Right-click on "System Management" and choose Properties
      1. Note that the old SCCM computer will have full control permissions using the new computer name.
      2. Add the new SCCM computer which is called "SCCM" in my example and give it full control
    4. Right-click on "SMS-MP-SiteCode-SiteComputerName" and choose Properties
      1. Add the new SCCM computer which is called "SCCM" in my example and give it full control.
  15. Restart "SMS_SITE_COMPONENT_MANAGER" Windows Service.
I'm at a pretty good place right now.  I'm a little concerned that I may have SMS services installed that were not set up in the old database but I'll keep posting as I find issues.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Why No Cloud Printing from Picasaweb?

My wife asked me to print off a couple of pictures to our printer and I was excited to try the new cloud printing. I assumed that picasaweb would allow for easy printing through the web browser and that my cr-48 laptop would be up for the task.  The only challenge would be to see how cloud printing works.

Unfortunately, picasaweb only allows for ordering prints from a service. For normal users, I would have liked to see a print icon that would nicely format a webpage for printing at a minimum. If Google was thinking ahead, they should have added Google Cloud printing as a possible print service so that you could pick and choose your list of photos to print and then send them to the cloud.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

My Review of Google's CR-48

I received the laptop about 4 weeks ago and have had it long enough to start writing my review.  Since the device is in beta and not a finished product I don't feel that my review can be finished.  In fact, just 2 days ago  I received the first, and as far as I know only update for the device.

Quick positive impressions:

  • Non-technical users seem to like the device better. Although I can appreciate it and use it happily as an additional device not my main workstations.
  • My 8-year-old daughter just loves this device. I've set her up with her own Gmail account and she likes the video chat from gtalk.
  • This device is being used way more than our Windows XP Netbook.   
  • The Verizon 100MB contract is perfect. I don't understand why Verizon or AT&T are not paying to install a cellular chip on every laptop device capable of it. I really like Google's negotiated contract for this device.  If I need data I like knowing that it is a straight fee for 1 day or 30 days, no negotiating, no sales talk, and most of all no up-sale.  100MB is just enough data to wet my appetite
  • The battery life and lid closing is fantastic. As well as the power button functions are very gratifying.
  • CR-48 Gtalk app is fantastic and I wish it could be brought over to Chrome
  • The security of someone being able to log into a device without first creating an account is brilliant. It takes no time for someone else to borrow your device.  In fact, I used the hotel's shared computer and wished for some of the same security considerations. ChromeOS would make a fantastic kiosk OS for hotels or other shared devices. I don't have to worry about what information is stored on the device if it were to be stolen or lost.

I've found that among the people I've shown proudly the Google laptop, I'm the most critical.  Maybe it has something to do with getting a nice free device that I couldn't have expected and in many ways deserved.  Everyone who I show this device that is non-technical and surprised to hear that Google even makes laptops, really seem to like/ love the simplicity and design of the device.

As for myself, I love the device but feel hampered by all of the missing features.  (Although, I also see great developer opportunities creating solutions to these issues)  I am struggling to use some form of remote desktop solution.  I have successfully used guacamole on a system at work to connect to my Ubuntu workstation, however I still need to find a secure vpn type solution.  Our Clientless SSL VPN with Cisco's ASA 5500 has not been very kind when forwarding dynamic HTML5 type scripting.

At home, I'm trying out ThinVNC with very little luck.  I seem to have problems with getting VNC to work through the Windows 7 firewall.

<sarcasm rant> By-the-by, who's brilliant idea was it to eliminate creating a firewall based on ports and protocols and give permissions based on executable.  I haven't researched this, but I am guessing that Windows 7 firewall doesn't create any sort of checksum when the permission is created for an executable. This reminds me of Linux's xinetd which is effective but never has been called a firewall. </sarcasm rant>

I brought this device with me to New York and was slightly frustrated that there was no solitaire-like game that could be played locally when I was on the airplane.  When I reached my hotel, the device worked better than I would have thought.  That is probably the place where I truly fell in love with the device. My wife brought our XP netbook which failed in comparison.  We decided to not bring any fully functioning laptop because our use would be only for entertainment and some communication. Normally, I would have just lived by my Android cell phone but the CR-48 really shined.  By the end of the trip my wife was a Google CR-48 believer.

Here are some areas that I find missing and a couple pieces of advice:

  • I tried to upload some pictures/video from a Samsung video camera that saves everything on SD card.  I was able to enable advanced file system but apparently SD cards with more than 2GB was not compatible on the first version.
  • Don't hesitate to activate options under about:flags  
    • Here are my favorites right now:
      • Advanced File System
      • GPU Accelerated Compositing
      • GPU Accelerated Canvas 2D
  • My device arrived not capable of working. I ended up finding out about holding the reset button (on the back with a paper clip) and the power button for 10 seconds.
  • The developer dip switch was covered by a piece of black sticker. I hesitated enabling the developer mode for quite some time until after I fell in love with the device and wanted to see if I could develop Android apps under Ubuntu.  So far, I've found out that I need more than 5GB partition to make that work with the default Ubuntu desktop install.  I'm planning on uninstalling a bunch of software to see if I can just work with eclipse and X windows.
  • I kinda sorta wish that there was some form of Java plugin installed. I can understand the problem and resources necessary for such a big tool. The Cicso ASA 5500 would allow me to remote RDP and a couple of other options if Java were available.
  • I don't like having HTML5 and Flash apps mixed together in the webstore