Jul 31, 2008

What To Do When Your Keyboard Fails

Do you think the keyboard is important? Try using your computer without it. Your computer will be almost useless without the keyboard, and like all other PC peripherals, the keyboard can and will put you down.

The keyboard is a simple peripheral and when it does go on the blink, you will be much better off purchasing a new one rather than considering repairing it, unless the problem is something simple like a stuck key.

TROUBLESHOOTING BASICS

As we look into problems with the keyboard, remember to check the obvious first and as with all problem solving procedures, don't be tempted to take shortcuts. Follow these procedures to resolve common keyboard problems.

KEYBOARD WILL NOT RESPOND

keyboard bra1st. Restart the computer. This sometimes will resolve a computer that has froze or locked up during the first boot up.

2rd. Look behind the system unit and check to see if the cable is fully inserted into the connector. Check to see if it is in the keyboard connector and not the mouse connector.

Shut the computer off and remove the cable from the system unit. Check to see if any pins or connectors have been bent or broken.

If all pins and connectors are good. Try connecting another keyboard and restart the computer. If the new keyboard works, replace the old keyboard.

CHECK FOR KEYBOARD ERROR IN WINDOWS

If the new keyboard should fail as well,check the resource conflicts if your operating system is Windows 98 or Me. Click on Start > Settings > Control Panel > System, and Device Manager Tab in System Properties.

Windows displays your devices attached to your PC. Click the plus sign and scan the list for the keyboard. If you notice an exclamation point or a red X beside the keyboard, the keyboard has a problem.

Now highlight the keyboard, click the remove button, and click OK in the confirmation window. Close the Device Manager and restart the computer. The operating system will reconfigure the keyboard.

WINDOWS DID NOT FIX THE KEYBOARD

You have restarted the computer and the keyboard still does not work.Its now possible you have a faulty keyboard port. This may prove true if the second keyboard failed to work on your computer as well.

Though it rarely happens,an error message will appear if the keyboard get hot.Stuck keys are also causes of error messages appearing on your monitor at bootup.

POOR KEYBOARD PERFORMANCE

Keeping the keyboard free from dirt and dust,is essential to good keyboard performance. Liquid spills are common and can be cleaned with a can of compressed air.

Your settings in Windows may also be the culprit in poor keyboard performance.To check your keyboard performance,click on Start,Settings, Control Panel,and double click keyboard.

On the Speed Tab,you have the option to control the Repeat Delay,Repeat Rate,and the Cursor Blink rate.The Repeat Delay is the delay between the time you press a key and when it responds. The Repeat Rate controls just how fast the key repeats after it begins repeating.

Windows give you the ability to control features of your keyboard which will boost its performance, allowing you to perform your tasks quicker.

While the keyboard is replaced rather than repaired, it is imperative that you learn troubleshooting steps to correct most keyboard problems.You may have problems with the keyboard late at night and you may need to get it working to complete a document you may need for work.Know how to correct problems and help others that may experience keyboard failure.

By:Otis F. Cooper

About the Author: Otis F. Cooper is solely dedicated to boosting the knowledge and confidence of every computer user. Use his informative articles and videos to understand all about the PC. Read more in depth articles for pc training and repair at http://www.repairarticles.com

Source: Free Blog Articles

Jul 30, 2008

Guy busted asking for answers to a job questionnaire

A job applicant posted the questionnaire in full on Ubuntu forums asking for "help from the experts" for his job interview, expecting them to do the work for him. Someone tipped off the hiring manager, and the guy responded! Great thread, worth a read.

read more | digg story

Jul 29, 2008

VMWare Server ESX Free!

Actually, VMWare ESXi server to be exact! I am serious as a heart attack people! I just happened upon it today. I have downloaded the ISO, and I am burning it as I frantically type out this quick blog announcement.

This may just be the solution your shop has been looking for, especially if you have been stuck using their free VMWare server for the last few years. Now they are making their enterprise OS absolutely free!

From their website:

Run all your production applications at near-native performance on VMware’s next-generation OS-independent hypervisor, now available for free. VMware ESXi has the same functionality and performance as VMware ESX but with a 32 MB disk footprint. With the ability to seamlessly upgrade to VMware Infrastructure 3, customers can add the benefits of server consolidation, automatic load balancing and business continuity to VMware ESXi.


Have any of you out there tried it yet? Hit me up in the comments!

[EDIT] Here is a link to the full press release: (VMWare ESXi Press Release)

File not found essexcln.xll Runtime Error 48

I work the early shift starting at 5:00am, so I spend most of my morning dealing with our needy users in the Tampa office. I got in this morning to be greeted with an issue with one of our financial system tools. This particular tool takes data from Hyperion's Essbase, and allows users to create really cool, and pretty Excel spread sheets. The only problem is that Hyperion's software rather sucks, and usually causes more problems than it helps (IMO). This particular user was complaining that when they tried to open a spreadsheet they would get a Runtime error 48. It took me a little while to figure it out, but I got it!

If you have been running into an issue where the Excel Add-in for Hyperion Essbase is installed, you launch it as the user and get a Runtime error 48, File not found essexcln.xll. This is almost always a permissions issue. Below are steps to fix it.

  1. Log in as administrator
  2. Navigate to your Hyperion install. Usually this is C:\Hyperion\AnalyticServices.
  3. Give Domain Users, Read/Write permissions to the local folder.
  4. Navigate to C:\windows\system32.
  5. Find all DLL files that start with mfc and msv and give Domain Users Read/Write permissions.
  6. Have the user log in and test it and it should work.

By: Sundance of Free TV Shows Online

[EDIT By El Di Pablo]- Do you use Hyperion? Do you have as much problems with it as we do? It seems every other day, we have some weird thing go wrong with it, and when we go to Hyperion they usually tell us it is a known issue and will be fixed in some later release. I would love to hear about your Hyperion horror stories in the comments. I would also like to hear your Hyperion happy stories! If you have a good stable Hyperion environment, hit us up in the comments as well!

Jul 27, 2008

VMWare: Failed to configure disk ide0:0...

I was receiving the error mentioned in the title on one of my home VMWare machines. This happened after we had a power outage which shutdown my home VMWare server box expectantly. The outage didn't hurt the other Virtual server running on that machine. The one that it did affect was my secondary domain controller.

When I SSH'd into my VMWare server I found that two files had the appendage of .writelock after them. There was the problem I was having. After doing some Googling, I found on electrictoolbox.com that the writelock was caused because:

VMWare was shut down without powering down the virtual machine and left behind some files which lock the virtual disk files.


To fix my problem I had to delete the files with the .writelock appendage. After that, my virtual machine powered up just fine.

Have you experienced this at all? Do you have any more info to add to the writelock problem? Please kick down some knowlege in the comments.

Jul 26, 2008

Anatomy of the Linux file system

When it comes to file systems,Linux is the Swiss Army knife of operating systems. Linux supports a large number of file systems, from journaling to clustering to cryptographic. Linux is a wonderful platform for using standard and more exotic file systems and also for developing file systems. This article explores the virtual file system (VFS)...

read more | digg story

Microsoft Tricks Users to Show That Everybody Loves Vista

Microsoft gathered together more than 120 Mac, Linux, Windows XP and Windows 2000 users and told them they were trying a future version of Windows code-named "Mojave." In fact, they were using Windows Vista. On Tuesday, Microsoft will unveil the results of their little slight of hand on this web site: www.mojaveexperiment.com

read more | digg story

Jul 22, 2008

Free and Enterprise Network Monitoring Software

There are a lot of Network Monitoring tools out there and some of them are pretty good. Other not so good. The one that seems to offer the most power and ease of use is GroundWork.

They offer Free, Pro and Enterprise levels of Network Monitoring solutions. Even the free one they'll give you a one time full support ticket and community forum support. Most other free sources either have no support or just forum support. Even the free version has an Unlimited number of monitoring Nodes. They even have a Community Edition VMWare Instance and a GroundWork Monitor Bootable ISO. It runs on a Linux environment so for a small shop you can set it up quick, easy and all Free!

The free version doesn't contain much in the way of reporting but still does great monitoring. The enterprise version also includes with it Network Traffic monitoring. Which comes out to a lot cheaper than other products that cover the same info. Also if your boss is like many others I know and support is a big issue and that's why you don't have more Linux servers no need to worry as they offer full 24/7 support for pro and enterprise versions.


groundwork network monitoring

Combine GroundWork with LanSweeper and Helpdesk Pilot and that's basically everything you need for a cheap setup of a Professional IT Service Center.

By: Sundance of Free TV Shows Online

Installing ASP.NET on Windows XP

One would think that if they have .NET installed on their computer and they install the IIS that would be all you have to do.


Well as with many things that should be that easy it's not. But it is easy to fix.





  1. Click Start then Run.
  2. Type CMD and hit Ok.
  3. Navigate to your Microsoft .NET windows directory which is usually C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727
  4. Run the following commands aspnet_regiis -i and aspnet_regiis -c
  5. Load up your IIS Manager and enable ASP.NET on the site you want.

By: Sundance of Free TV Shows Online

Jul 21, 2008

Really Awesome Free Asset Management System

The other day I was perusing some of my RSS feeds, and going to some of my favorite blogs, when I was reading someone's comment about a very cool asset management/network inventory software. This was a few days ago, so I can't remember which blog it was (Otherwise I would post a link to it) but the commenter said this particular software was a lot like Spiceworks, except without the ads.

I decided to set it up at my work on VM to test it out, and you know what? It is now one of our production products. My boss was extremely happy about it, and before long he was asking me to customize reports, and change different reporting features. It was an instant hit!

This product is called Lansweeper. By adding a simple line to our network logon script, I am able to capture info about all of our workstations and servers. One of the things I found using the program today was that our Help Desk was giving local admin rights to all sorts of users in the field. I was able to squash that right away thanks to Lansweeper!

Here is a list of features from their website:

  • lansweeperLansweeper 3.1 is freeware and contains no ads.
  • Run the server application on as many servers as you like.
  • Use with unlimited clients (no restrictions).
  • Reporting : over 75 hardware, software, network & server reports included.
  • Software and operating system licensing reports and license cost calculation
  • Launch custom commands and programs from the web interface to support your clients (remote control, ping, event viewer, remote screenshot, ...)
  • Win32 Gui to make easy configuration changes.
  • Intuitive new web interface
  • Asset tag vendor integration
  • Wake on Lan support (WOL)
  • Automated installer


Setup was really easy, all you need is to install SQL Express 2005 (Also free) and away you go. The download comes with comprehensive instructions.

What sort of tools do you use to gather information about your network? I love testing this stuff out, especially if I can find one as useful as this.

Jul 19, 2008

How to Browse the Internet Anonymously using Tor!

I have been meaning to blog about Tor for a while now, but I keep pushing it off. I really wanted to write about it when I was getting into it with Ironkey a few months back. One of the things Ironkey offers, besides an encrypted USB stick, is a secure web browser for anonymous web browsing.

Well, The Electronic Frontier Foundation (www.EFF.org) has developed a free tool to protect your anonymity on the internet called Tor, which stands for The Onion Router. Tor currently works on all platforms including Windows, Linux, Unix and Mac. If you use Firefox, there is a Torbutton extension to make surfing with Tor even easier.

This is what the Tor Project has to say:

Tor protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, and it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location. Tor works with many of your existing applications, including web browsers, instant messaging clients, remote login, and other applications based on the TCP protocol.


I found this video on Howcast from the boys over at Hak.5 explaining a little bit more about Tor:



Do you use Tor for secure web surfing? Care to chat about your experience with it in the comments?

Jul 18, 2008

I Hate Your Weather!!

Ok, so this one isn't so technical, but it has to be said. I've worked in the IT field for a while now and most of it has been Help Desk work in one form or another.

Until now I've been able to avoid idle chat for the most part during dead air time. Usually I will just ignore the users or the users will be quiet like they should. Shut up and listen I say, don't try to do two things at once!

When its unavoidable idle chat isn't so bad but there is one thing more than anything that really bugs me, and that thing is:

weather sucks"So how's the weather out there?"


When I hear those 6 works I cringe at having to reply to them. I really just want to say is:

"I live in San Diego, what do you think it's like?! It's nice weather; it's always nice weather that's why hundreds of thousands of people come here all year round!! And if you really want to know that bad look it up online!"


But being the good Help Desk agent I am I tell them politely that it's nice and has been good. Then they seem to have to follow up with how their weather sucks...

By Sundance of Free TV Shows Online

Jul 17, 2008

Microsoft Using Self-Signed SSL Certificates

Can anyone tell me why in the free world Microsoft, a multi-billion dollar corporation, thought it would be best to use self signed SSL certificates to secure their public websites? Anyone? Hello?!?!?!

This isn't the first time I noticed this, but today I decided to go ahead and write about it. The other day I went to login to my MCP account to get some information, and I saw that their site was secured by a self signed SSL cert. Today I went to login to my company's volume license account, and once again it is "secured" by a self signed SSL cert. Now, I use self signed certs all the time for home stuff, and for internal web servers for my company, but if I was running a multi billion dollar empire, I think I could probably afford $2000 for a Verisign cert! I mean, it is a trust issue. Do I trust YOUR self signed cert? Hell no! Do I trust mine? Sure. Do I trust Microsoft's self signed certs? I don't know. How do I know someone didn't poison DNS, and redirect me to some phishing site?

Seriously! The problem with self signed certs is that ANYONE can make one, and issue it to themselves. Having a trusted public certificate authority like Verisign validate a websites identity is one of the main reasons for having an SSL certificate!

Here is a screen shot of Microsoft's Volume License website's cert info taken from Firefox:

microsoft self signed ssl

Am I being to harsh here? Am I being too paranoid? Whats your take on this?

Recover Deleted Files Free and Easy!

Yesterday I wrote about a new defrag utility from the makers of CCleaner. Well, today I am going to write about another utility from the CCleaner folks (Piriform) that recovers deleted files, even files that have been emptied from the recycle bin.

This is handy, because we have all known someone, or perhaps been that someone, that accidentally deleted a file and now we need to get it back. This utility from Piriform does the trick.

It is called Recuva (Pronounced "recover"). I tested it out on an image my coworker, and Bauer-Power contributor Sundance sent me of some Koi fish. I sent it to my recycle bin, then emptied my recycle bin, then used Recuva to see if I could get it back. You know what? It worked! Here is a screen shot of what it found:

recuva
Of course, the file name was changed so finding the picture was sort of difficult until I started playing with it and figured out that you can filter by pictures only, and then change the view to thumbnail. Continuing to play with the program led me to some other cool features and tricks. I even found some really cool tips, hints and tricks on the Recuva forum here: (Recuva Forum)

The last cool thing I will say about this product, is that it is free for both commercial and non-commercial use, so it might be a good idea to add this utility to your standard desktop images at work incase your users accidentally delete stuff (May reduce the call volume for your help desk).

[NOTE]: If you use an erasing program like Eraser, then you won't be able to recover your files with Recuva. Like most recovery programs, this will only recover files that have not been overwritten. Secure wipe utilities like Eraser overwrite files numerous times to ensure they cannot be recovered.

What tools do you use to recover deleted files? I would love to hear about them in the comments.

Jul 16, 2008

Another cool defrag utility from the makers of CCleaner

I learned of this via Hackosis tonight, and I thought it was pretty cool. It is from the Creators of CCleaner, which I really like because it does a fairly good job of cleaning the registry, as well as other junk that tends to accumulate on your Windows PC.

I have written about defrag tools in the past. One of them, which is hard to find the free version now is called Dirms. I personally liked Dirms because it was easily scriptable. Another one I mentioned was JKDefrag, which has a pretty neat screen saver defrag thingy going on.

For those of you that don't know what defragging is, or why it is important, I grabbed this from Wikipedia:

defragmentation is a process that reduces the amount of fragmentation in file systems. It does this by physically reorganizing the contents of the disk to store the pieces of each file close together and contiguously. It also attempts to create larger regions of free space using compaction to impede the return of fragmentation. Some defragmenters also try to keep smaller files within a single directory together, as they are often accessed in sequence.


This defrag tool from the CCleaner peeps is called Defraggler. It is really light weight, and can be run from a USB thumb drive (Did somebody say portability?) Also, it comes with a command line version for...you guessed it...SCRIPTABILITY!

If you browse to the Defraggler programs file directory from the command line you will find an executable called df.exe. If you run df.exe /? a whole list of options appears before you. For instance, the simplest command to defrag your C: drive would be:

df.exe c:

Another cool thing about Defraggler, that Dirms and (Correct me if I am wrong) JKDefrag don't offer is the ability to defrag a single file.

Here is a screen shot of Defraggler in action from the Defraggler website:

defraggler gui
One screenshot they didn't have on the Defraggler website (Probably because it lacks pretty colors) was Defraggler running from the command line, so I took the liberty of taking that screen shot for them:

defraggler command lineAll in all, I am pretty happy with this defrag utility, and I think I might even move on from Dirms because of the scripting capabilities of Defraggler. Why don't you try it out, and let me know how you like it, or if you prefer something else.

Jul 14, 2008

Bouncing Breasts = Renewable Energy!

I found this one on Digg, and I just had to blog about it. I mean, I am a big proponent of renewable energy...and breasts! I figured this article was a win-win on both accounts!

This Digg submission actually came via The Independant, a British newspaper. According to the article, Adrienne So came up with the idea of a "Boobie powered" electric generator bra. She wanted to harness the power of the bouncing motion of the breasts as she was jogging to power devices like the iPod.

From the article:

bra powered, bionic braThe idea of an energy-generating bra isn't as crazy as it might sound. The underwear company Triumph International Japan recently unveiled a solar-powered bra that supposedly will generate enough energy to power an iPod. But I live in foggy San Francisco and prefer not to walk around in my underwear in public. Could someone design an iPod-powering bra for me? What do you think out there guys?


Does this sound like the ultimate Christmas gift for your lady or what?

read more | digg story

Jul 11, 2008

Light Weight, Portable Alternative to MSTSC

This isn't a problem any more, but when I first started to go to my current college, they were still using Windows 2000 in their computer lab. What does that mean? It means no native RDP client so I could remote into my home computer from school. When I went to San Diego State University, the library computers ran "locked down" Windows XP. They removed the run line, and only allowed access to Internet Explorer, and notepad. I would right click on the desktop, and create a new text file called rdp.rdp. Then I would double click on that, and BAM! Remote desktop bitch!

Well, that didn't work so well on the Windows 2000 workstation at my current school. True, you can download remote desktop and install it on Windows 2000, but I didn't have local admin rights. No, my only alternative was TightVNC, which isn't as secure as RDP.

That problem is over! I have found a light weight, portable alternative to Remote Desktop in a tool called Terminals. This puppy does not require installation, can be run from a thumb drive, and doesn't require local admin rights to use!

Besides that, the latest version also has support for VNC, VMRC, SSH, Telnet, RAS, and ICA Citrix. You can also save your passwords for your connections, and protect them using a master password when running the program (Though I'm not sure how secure this really is).

terminals alternative to rdp

Of course this is too little too late, as my college finally upgraded the lab computers to Windows XP (Way to stay cutting edge Coleman! Always stay one OS behind!) and Windows XP has Remote Desktop built in. The good thing about Terminals though is that all remote administration is in one place now, which certainly makes things easier.

What do you use for remote access while on "locked down" networks? I would like to hear your experiences in the comments.

Creating Self Bootable 'Ghost' DVDs for FREE

It occurs to me that creating self-booting Ghost images isn't as straight forward as it should be. We use Ghost Cast at my work for deploying images, which works great, but there was an incident that recently happened in our Tampa Florida office involving lightning, and fried motherboards due to a surge through the network and into the computer's NICs, but I digress. Anyway, we had to rapidly deploy 16 new desktop PCs to the Tampa office. My boss wanted us to create a self booting version of our standard desktop image. The problem was that creating the self booting image can kind of be a pain in the arse using Symantec's Ghost. Also, what if you are a home user and don't want to pay for an expensive disk cloning program like Symantec's Ghost?

In this article, I will tell you how to create a self booting disk image for free, and really easy. My method involves using my new found best friend in disk cloning called PING. Without further ado, here is how you do it:

1) Download the PING CD ISO and burn it to CD using Nero, or if you're really cheap, CD Burner XP Pro.

2) Download the PING Files. You will need these to create/restore images. Extract the zip file to your external hard drive, or to your file server with plenty o' disk space and share it out. You don't have to, but I rename the extracted folder to ghost. These instructions will be using the external hard drive.

3) Now create your base Windows image, install your base software and get it looking the way you want it. Put the PING CD in the drive, then run sysprep and reboot your computer.

4) Boot up to the PING CD. At boot up, you will see the standard Linux stuff. When you get to the following screen, press enter.



5) Next you will get a GUI with the standard legal mumbo-jumbo, press enter:

6) After the legal stuff, you will be asked what you want to do after the backup is complete. I always select the "Get a Shell (Root)" option so if there is a problem I can check the log using vi.

7) After that you will be asked where you want to back your image up to. You can select a network share, or a local hard drive (Yes it supports USB). For our purposes, I will be talking about the local hard drive method.

8) Next you need to select the drive or partition you want to back up by arrowing down to it and pressing space bar. Then tab down to OK and press enter.

9) Now you will select the external hard drive where we are going to backup our image. Arrow down to it, select it with space bar, then tab down to OK and press enter.

10) Next you will be asked for the PING files we downloaded earlier. This is where renaming it to ghost comes in handy (less typing and easy to remember). Type in \ghost then press enter.

11) If you did everything right, you should now be presented with a list of options (Notice that the list of options are named the same as the folders in the PING files. Coincidence? I don't think so). You will select the Create_New_Image option.

12) Type a name for the new image and press enter. The imaging process will now begin!

13) After the backup is complete, take your removable drive. Find the directory of your new image. Download my slightly personalized package of the necessary boot files, and extract the contents into the same directory of your newly created image. (The files only, not the folder(s)).

14) Run my MAKE-ISO.cmd script to create your DVD iso. If your image is saved in c:\ghost\Your_image_Directory, then your ISO will be located in the c:\ghost directory (One level up). You can edit the script to suit your needs.

15) Once your iso is complete burn it to DVD using your favorite DVD iso burner. I like ImgBurn because it is free.

Once you have burned you image, you are done. The self booting DVD is similar to the PING CD, except you have less choices and all you have to do is select restore and it takes over from there. If your image is larger than 4.7GB, You can either buy the dual layer DVD disks, or you can split the image up to fit on multiple DVDs using the instructions here. (You will have to edit the MAKE-ISO.cmd script.)

Sounds easy enough right? The best part about it is you don't need to download the drivers for your NIC, you don't need any floppy disks to make the DVD bootable, and you don't need to fork over any extra cash to buy expensive cloning software. Everything is win/win!

DIGG THIS!

Jul 10, 2008

Easy How to Install Ubuntu Server 8.04 LAMP with MediaWiki

I setup an Ubuntu 8.04 LAMP server with MediaWiki on it the other day and had to look up a few different web pages to get all the info I needed. So here’s a start to finish guide. To give proper credit and save space on this blog I will link to the resources I used (Just click on the titles people!).

Installation of LAMP

The only things I changed on my install was I also installed the Samba File Server at the “Software Selection” screen so I could more easily manage files from my windows box. I also didn’t change the primary network interface.

mediawiki logoInstallation of MediaWiki

Nothing to change on this one, just follow it all the way through.
After your wiki is all installed, time to do a little customization.

Open your LocalSettigns.php file from /var/lib/mediawiki and at the very end of the file add the following lines

$wgUseAjax = true;
$wgAjaxSearch = true;
$wgLogo = "FullURLPathToYourLogoImage";

MediaWiki Extensions

The ones I like the most are the IM Status and the CategoryTree

By: Sundance of Free TV Shows Online

The Website is Down!

Have you seen this video yet? It is an extremely viral, and most importantly, hilarious video of a tech support guy dealing with a pretty sticky situation. I found this embeddable copy at Blip.tv, but the original is available at www.TheWebsiteIsDown.com.

According to their blog this video has already reached the one million views mark, and that most likely doesn't include the other places it can be found like Break.com, Youtube etc. If you haven't seen it yet, you're in for a treat, because here it is:




I should probably warn you that there is some naughty language, and the "desktop icons" at the end may not be appropriate for work, so make sure to view it in a secluded place.

Jul 8, 2008

Takin' it back to the ol' school

One of my fellow Systems Administrators came up to me this morning and showed me something that I thought I would share with you. He just finished moving into a new house, and went through some of his old stuff. In his archive of old tech stuff he came across an old CD. What was the CD? It was none other than a genuine Microsoft Windows 95 Upgrade CD! That's right, not just an install CD, but an UPGRADE CD!

I thought that was kind of funny that he would have something like that after all this time. In fact, I sometimes think it is weird to find old copies of Windows 2000 laying around, or even Windows 98 (Gasp!)

Here is a picture of it in all of its glory:



Do you have any old software CD's laying around? I would love to know what you all still have out there!

Setup a simple VPN server using Windows XP on the easy!

A few days ago I mentioned how I used OpenVPN to setup a secure VPN server to my home network. I loved that solution because the possibilities are endless, and it is extremely expandable with no limitations because it is open source.

What if you don't need anything that fancy because you only have one or two computers at home? Did you know you can setup your home Windows XP Pro box to be a simple PPTP VPN server? Sure, PPTP isn't as secure as SSL, but it is better than a sharp stick in the eye, and it is sure convenient as hell!

Well, the boys over at Hak.5 decided to do a quick spot on just how easy it is to turn your XP box into a VPN server. All you need to get it working is the following video, and enable port forwarding on your router for port 1723 (PPTP) to point to your new Windows XP VPN server. Don't believe how easy it is? Check out the video (Via 5Min.com):



Do you have something like this setup at home? Do you use something else for a VPN/remote solution? Care to share with the rest of the class in the comments?

Jul 7, 2008

Excel loads a blank excel file when attempting to load an existing file

Does it ever happen to you when you add a new add-in or installed some new software and Excel loads a blank spreadsheet when attempting to load an existing file. For instance, you have a known good excel file, but when you double click it it doesn't open, and all you get is Excel?

In order to open the Excel file, you have to then click on file > open and browse to your file? Well I found a fix for that. That fix is:

• Open "My Computer"
• Click on Tools
• Click on Folder Options
• Click the Tab "File Types"
• Scroll down till you find the Extension XLS
• Click the Advanced button at the bottom
• Highlight the Open and Click Edit
• Click Browse and find your Excel.exe which will be under C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office in either Office10, Office11 or Office12
• Then after selecting your Excel.exe at the end of the "Application used to perform action:" line put /e "%1"
• After that un-check the Use DDE box and hit ok all the way out.


Now your Excel documents will load up fine now and maybe even load up faster! Ever had this problem? Know of a different fix? Let us know in the comments.

By Sundance of Free TV Shows Online

Something Funny For Your Cubicle

You probably have seen some of these before, but then again maybe you haven't. My coworkers today are emailing them around, and I tought maybe I would post them up here for your enjoyment. They are various Help Desk "Warning" signs that you can put up at your cubicle to prevent those inevitable stupid questions that you may get. They won't stop them completely, but hopefully they will act as a deterrant.

Think of them as a quazi head on a pike sort of thing... Enjoy!


help desk on fire

bart stupid question google

cluelessness

ascii a stupid question

Jul 6, 2008

Layout change complete! How do you like me now?

Bauer-Power is finished with its latest facelift!

Okay, okay, so the change wasn't that monumental. Not like the first change I did back in December. For that one I went from one of the horrible stock blogger templates to the one I just changed from today. With that one, I had to make all kinds of changes because the layout was a lot different.



face liftFor this change, I just merged two different templates from the same designer to make my own slightly unique version. The big difference is that the post area now has the white background. I did this mainly for continuity with my RSS feed. Since the background was dark before, I found that I had to change my fonts to lighter colors so site visitors could see it okay without getting their nuts twisted too much, but then that left the RSS subscribers behind, because the white background of the RSS feed on some readers didn't agree with the font colors I would choose.

I figured, the best thing to do was to use the white background, because the formatting is universal.

So what do you think of the new digs? Please take a moment to vote in my poll, or you can go ahead and leave a comment, take your pick!

Jul 5, 2008

Cutting over to new layout Sunday night

Converting settings over to the new layout was a lot easier than it was moving to the current one. I guess it is because this layout was created by the same developer.

So, I have decided to go ahead and make the change over to the new template Sunday night. If you want to get a taste of what Bauer-Power will look like after the change, please visit my "dev" site http://bauer-powerdev.blogspot.com/

I have already made the changes to make it look the way it will look here, so what you see there (minus the hot girl kissing video) will be what you see over here after Sunday.

I still want to know what you guys think, so please leave some comments for me here so I can take your opinions into consideration. If you don't like it after Sunday, and you didn't complain, I would rather not here about it because I already told you to voice your opinions here.

Jul 4, 2008

Going to be changing my layout here...AGAIN

I have been using this template for a while now (Since Christmas), and I'm getting a little tired of it. I originally switched it up to move to an easier to read, easier on the eyes format, but I just don't feel like I ever truly achieved it with this template since the background is a dark grey.

I am going to move to a similar template, except the blog post area is white. Simple, yet effective, and most importantly easy on the eyes for you the reader. It may take me a while to plan out how I want it to look, so I created a "dev" site where I am playing with it. You can get an early glimpse here: (http://bauer-powerdev.blogspot.com/)

Stop by, let me know what you think in the comments.

Jul 3, 2008

A Word About Virus "Warning" Emails

So I get into work this morning, pour me my hot cup of Joe, and fix up my bowl of oatmeal. Like many people, I am just not in the mood for shenanigans for the first 30 minutes or so of work. Anyhoo, I open my email and there it was, a message from one of the office managers at one of our field offices asking me if everyone was aware of a virus she was "warned" about in an email. Now, to the simple loser...errr...user, this looks like a legit email. I mean Snopes.com "confirmed" it and everything.


Ugghhhh! I hate to break it to some of you, but Snopes isn't really an internet security authority. They have some fun info on Urban legends, but for virus warnings and what not, you need to turn to industry leaders for the real scoop. Companies like Trend Micro, McAfee and the like have indexes of hoax emails where you can check stuff like that without perpetuating the problem by sending out more bogus emails and getting people worried unnecessarily.

Marc Fossi of Symantec said it best when he wrote:

virus hoaxWho cares about a few extra hoax messages zipping around these sites? It’s their bandwidth and not yours after all. Well, the big deal seems to be with where people are placing their trust. They’re trusting that messages they get through these sites are authoritative and legitimate. They also trust links and applications they see on their friends’ profile pages. So what happens when one of these hoax messages also includes a link to a program that will “detect and remove” some super virus from your computer? How many people will follow that link only to have it lead to a page that exploits some Web browser vulnerability to install a real malicious program?


So what's the moral of the story? Same as it ever was:

  • Always remain vigilant
  • Never open a suspicious attachment
  • DON'T FORWARD HOAX EMAILS!

Jul 2, 2008

Drive Safe! Free Cell Phone Headsets!

I live in Southern California, and a new law was just set into effect on July 1st making the use of hands free devices mandatory while driving. I honestly think this is an awesome idea, because there are so many accidents caused by people simply not paying attention while talking on their cell phones. (If only they can do something about the morons who text while they drive too!)

Well, our office manager here just sent out a memo about a company that offers free headsets (just pay the cost of shipping) in an effort to promote safe driving. I liked what they were doing so much, I though I would give them a quick plug. They are FreeHeadset.org, and this is from their website:

Since December of 2003 we've been running a worldwide wireless phone safety program that distributes free cell phone headsets in an effort to promote safe driving. So far we've given away over 200,000 headsets and we'd like to give one to you too!
So if you are in need of a headset, and don't have the dough, check these guys out. They had a headset for my wifes phone for only $3.00 shipping and handling.

Just What is Ubuntu? From The Horses Mouth...

Have you ever heard of Mark Shuttleworth? I hadn't either until I saw the following video on Youtube. Mark Shuttleworth is the founder of Canonical LTD. the corporate sponsor of Ubuntu Linux.

Shuttleworth got rich during the big dot com boom in the late 90's when he founded Thawte, the SSL certificate company, which he later sold to Verisign. Later, he took his millions and started Canonical, and the rise against Bill Gates.

The below video features him talking about the Ubuntu project. Enjoy!

Jul 1, 2008

Must have Add-Ins for Firefox at work

With the Aging tabs Plug-in you can set your tabs to remind you that you need to pay attention to all the windows you have open. I have mine set to change different colors after every 2 min duration of not paying attention to them.

Fast Dial lets you save multiple pages that are all brought up in little windows when you open a new tab. This allows you to add the pages you frequent without having to go up to the bookmarks menu or use precious window pace with the bookmark toolbar. On top of that it takes a screenshot of the pages also so it makes it a lot easier to see which links are what.

firefox crop circleIE-Tab, well when a page is stubborn enough to make you have to use IE or if your already setup for authentication on your network through IE then you have the IE-Tab to come to the rescue.

Taboo allows you to add pages to it for later viewing. So say a friend sends you a link and you don't have time to view it right then and you don't want to keep the tab open which uses more resources and you don't want to add it to your bookmarks and clutter them up even more. Just add the link to the Taboo by a simple click of a button then close the tab and come back to it later. Taboo also takes a screenshot of the page you're adding to it so if you add a lot of pages to it they'll be easy to find.

Then finally the savior to accidental Tab Death. The Undo Closed Tabs Button Add-In. This does exactly as it says. If you close out of a tab on purpose or accident it can recover it. It can hold up to 99 Undo Tabs. So if you really need to go back and get something and not deal with digging through your history and hope you find it in a timely manner then the Undo Closed Tabs Button is for you.

By: Sundance of Dot Net Trickster



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