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Dec 29, 2010

Creating Bootable Windows 7 Install USB Keys On The Easy

A few months ago I wrote a post on how to take a Windows 7 ISO image and install it to your USB drive to make a bootable Windows 7 Install USB Flash drive. The process wasn’t that difficult, but for some of you dropping to the command prompt might be a bit scary, or if you are not tech savvy at all, it’s like I was speaking a completely different language!

Microsoft actually made a really cool tool that makes this process easier for the average Joe. Their tool takes you step by step through taking a Windows 7 ISO file, and either using it to burn it to DVD, or to install it directly to USB. It really is so easy, than I’m sure your Grandma could probably do it!

The tool is called the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool. There are some system Requirements to run the tool such as:

  • Windows XP SP2, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 (32-bit or 64-bit)

  • Pentium 233-megahertz (MHz) processor or faster (300 MHz is recommended)

  • 50MB of free space on your hard drive

  • DVD-R drive or 4GB removable USB flash drive

For Windows XP Users
The following applications must be installed prior to installing the tool:

  • Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 must be installed. It can be downloaded here.
  • Microsoft Image Mastering API v2 must be installed. It can be downloaded here.

Windows 7 USBDVD Download Tool_2010-12-29_11-17-00

Pretty easy right? Just a quick 4 step process, and boom! You can have a bootable Windows 7 USB Installer so you can install Windows 7 on your computer from USB! I’m pretty sure it doesn’t get easier than that!

[Via The Microsoft Store]

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Dec 28, 2010

Uninstalling Exchange? Getting an Error Saying, “Object is Read Only”? Here’s Your Fix!

My company upgraded to Exchange 2010 about a year ago. It is really awesome, and I’m glad we did. We did not, however, ever remove the only Exchange 2007 server we had. It’s just been sitting in our data center, using up power, and expensive Microsoft licensing. I finally decided that since we were in need of more VMware resources, it would be a good time to decommission Exchange 2007 for good, order some more RAM for it, and re-purpose it for VMware.

I started on this last week. You see, in order to remove an Exchange server from your environment, you have to do several things in order to make it go smoothly and cleanly. One of them is to make sure you remove all public folder replicas to your new Exchange server. That can take several days. I set that to go over the weekend, and decided to start back up today.

When I went to uninstall, all the perquisites passed. That meant I moved replicas successfully. However when I proceeded with the uninstall it failed at removing the Mailbox Server Role with the following error:

Object is read only because it was created by a future version of Exchange: 0.10 (14.0.100.0). Current supported version is 0.1 (8.0.535.0).

Exchange Server 2007 Uninstall Failed

It turns out that after you move all replicas, you now have to actually remove the public folder database from your Exchange 2007 server. The problem is you can’t really do that from the Exchange 2007 server itself or you will get a similar error. So here is what you have to do.

  • On your Exchange 2007 server, open the Exchange Management Shell as administrator
  • Get the public folder identity by running this command:

    Get-PublicFolderDatabase -Server YOUREXCH2007SERVERNAME | fl name, identity

  • Once you have the identity, open the Exchange Management Shell as administrator on your Exchange 2010 server.
  • Remove the 2007 Public Folder database by running the following command:

    Remove-PublicFolderDatabase "YOUREXCH2007SERVERNAME\First Storage Group\Public Folder Database"

Make sure that you don’t just copy and paste what is above! Your environment may be different, so modify the commands above match your environment! Once you run these commands and after everything replicates nicely through your active directory, you can proceed with the uninstall without issue!

Dec 24, 2010

Tracking Down Account Lockouts in Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2

You have all probably had to troubleshoot account lockouts right. I mean, it comes with the territory for a Windows admin. Sure, some of you may be Help Desk workers, and you unlock the account then send the user on their way. What if a certain user’s account keeps getting locked out though? Like chronic back pain, the user keeps coming to you telling you that their account is locked out again. It sounds like a deeper problem.

Lucky for you then that Microsoft has an old tool to help you look for account lock outs on domain controllers so you can see which computers the accounts are getting locked out on. Then from there you can check for stuff like scheduled tasks with old passwords, viruses using old credentials, hacking attempts, etc. It’s called EventCombMT and comes with the Microsoft Account Lockout Management Tools.

In EventCombMT, there are several built in searches, but the only one I have ever used is the account lockout search. For domain controllers running Windows 2000 or 2003, the default event ID’s for the search work fine. If you are running Windows 2008 or Windows 2008 R2 domain controllers though, you need to add a search for event id 4740, as that is the event ID for lockouts in 2008/2008 R2.

eventcombmt

What other tools do you like to use for account lockouts? Any of them work better than EventCombMT? Are they free? Let us know in  the comments!

Dec 23, 2010

Can Microsoft DPM Backup a SQL Failover Cluster in an Untrusted Domain? Hell No!

So here is a scenario I have been working on at work for the last day or so. I have set up two sets of failover SQL server Clusters. Four servers total. If you don’t know why someone would do that, it is for high availability. If one of the SQL servers goes offline, it will fail over to the second node in the cluster, and nobody is the wiser. It’s a good thing to do so you can do maintenance during business hours without interruptions, and just to generally cover your bases so you don’t get woken up in the middle of the night due to an outage.

My company’s network is set up kind of weird. I manage multiple domains. This is because I also manage a hosting environment for clients. We backup our servers currently with Microsoft Data Protection Manager 2010 (DPM). Everything has been great with it until now. You see, since I just setup the failover clusters in the hosting environment, I wanted to add them to DPM to back them up. The DPM server is joined to a different domain, so I had to manually install the DPM agents on each of the failover nodes. Here is where I noticed an issue.

DPM could see that each node was a part of a failover cluster, but under the cluster I had no options to back up anything! WTF?!? Well it turns out, this type of setup is not supported by Microsoft. Check it out. In fact, there are a lot of things NOT supported in untrusted networks, or in workgroups setups. Check them out:

dpm-not-supported

Click The Image To Enlarge

My workaround for this situation is to simply use SQL maintenance tasks to backup SQL on these clusters to flat bak files, and just back those up with DPM. It’s not ideal, but it beats a sharp stick in the eye. If these clusters were in the same domain as the DPM server, it wouldn’t be an issue at all. Damn it Microsoft! Why is it that companies like Symantec can make a better backup product than you for your software? You guys should be the ones that know the best way to backup your stuff! I hope this is fixed in the next release!

[Via Technet]

Dec 22, 2010

When Coders Become Taggers

I was on indefinite hold with HP Lefthand Support for work the other day. Since I was stuck to the phone listening to terrible hold music, I decided to surf the interwebz with my good friend Stumbleupon. That’s when I cam across a strange video that I thought I would share with you.

Have you ever learned a new programming language? maybe it is C++, C#, or whatever. Hell, have you ever learned a simple scripting language? What is the first program you learn to write? Almost always it is something that pops up and says two magical words, “Hello World!” I would have to say that every book I ever had on any computer language had to begin with some sort of Hello World exercise. I suppose if you do that sort of thing too much you might end up going crazy and tagging it every where like this fool!

When Coders become Taggers

 

If you want to make your own Looptaggr device, and go around graffitiing your neighborhood with geeky stuff, check out Looptaggr.com for some interesting instructions. It’s arts and crafts time people!

[Via Makezine]

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Dec 21, 2010

Microsoft Network Load Balancing in VMware

At my day job we do, among other things, website hosting. For one of our clients with a dedicated server they wanted two front ends load balanced using Microsoft’s Network Load Balancing (NLB). Easy enough right? Well, not so much.

If you configure NLB in Microsoft, the default setting for the cluster is Unicast mode. The problem with Unicast mode is that although it works well with most routers and layer 2 switches, it causes switch flooding. Switch flooding is when all ports are flooded with NLB traffic, even to nodes not involved in the NLB cluster. VMware virtual switches by default prevent switch flooding.

According to VMware:


On an ESX [ESXi] host, the VMkernel sends a reverse address resolution protocol (RARP) packet each time certain actions occur—for example, when a virtual machine is powered on, when there is a teaming failover, or when certain VMotion operations occur. The RARP packet gives physical switches the MAC address of the virtual machine involved in the action. In a Network Load Balancing cluster environment, after a Network Load Balancing node is powered on, the notification in the RARP packet exposes the MAC address of the cluster NIC. As a result, switchesmight begin to send all inbound traffic destined for the Network Load Balancing cluster through one switch port to a single node of the cluster.

Now, we originally set up their cluster using unicast because it was the default setting. Our problem was that the SQL backend could only ping one server in the cluster. If we failed it over to the other node, SQL couldn’t talk to it. Talk about a headache!

If you absolutely must use unicast, there are some configuration changes you can make on your VMware virtual switches:

To Prevent RARP Packet Transmission for a Virtual Switch
1. Log on to the VI Client and select the ESX host.
2. Click the Configuration tab.
3. Choose Networking and, for the virtual switch, select Properties.
4. On the Ports tab, select the virtual switch and click Edit.
5. Click the NIC Teaming tab, set Notify Switches to No.
6. Click OK and close the vSwitch Properties dialog box.

Complete the following steps to prevent RARP packet transmission only for an individual port group. This setting overrides the setting you make for the virtual switch.


To Prevent RARP Packet Transmission for a Port Group
1. Log on to the VI Client and select the ESX host.
2. Click the Configuration tab.
3. Choose Networking and, for the virtual switch, select Properties.
4. On the Ports tab, select the port group and click Edit.
5. Click the NIC Teaming tab, set Notify Switches to No.
6. Click OK and close the vSwitch Properties
dialog box.

If you don’t want to do all that then do what VMware suggests. Use Multicast mode! We did that, and everything has been right as rain!

nlb

According to VMware:

VMware recommends that you use multicast mode, because unicast mode forces the physical switches on the LAN to broadcast all Network Load Balancing traffic to every machine on the LAN


You do not need to take any special steps to configure your ESX host when you are using multicast mode

So in other words, if you want to make your life easy, just select multicast mode when setting up a NLB cluster on two VMware virtual servers.

[Via VMware]

Dec 20, 2010

How To P2V Windows 7 For Use in VMware

Sorry I have been off for a while. As my last post said, I have been working on getting back into shape for martial arts  and studying for my VCP exam. Speaking of VCP, I have discovered a really cool little trick for converting a physical Windows 7 machine into a VMware virtual machine.

Now I know what you are saying, why not just use the VMware converter tool? Well, that is a good question, and the answer is simple. It doesn’t quite work right for Windows 7. Every time I tried it would either fail to convert, or if it did convert, when I powered it on I would get a really cool Blue Screen of Death!

Anyway, I found a post on IT Knowledge Exchange explaining a method that actually works! Sure, it’s not ideal, but if it works, it works right? I think it would be better if VMware could make their converter just work better with Windows 7 though.

Anyhoo, what I did was:

  • On the Windows 7 laptop I was trying to convert I downloaded and ran a Sysinternals tool called Disk2VHD. Which creates a Microsoft Virtual PC VHD disk file.
  • I took the VHD from the previous step, then ran another free tool called StarWind V2V Converter and converted it to a VMDK file for use in VMWare
  • I took the VMDK file from the previous step and copied it to my ESX server using WinSCP
  • In vSphere I created a new Windows 7 VM, but before I powered it on I removed the hard disk, and replaced it with my existing VMDK from step 2 above.
  • I powered it on and installed VMware tools!

GUINNESS on esx03.sp360

Sure that is a lengthier process than usual, but it’s the only one that has worked for me for Windows 7 both 32bit and 64bit. Maybe I am doing something wrong in VMware converter though. If you know of a way to do a physical to virtual conversion of Windows 7 using the VMware tool, let me know in the comments!

[Via IT Knowledge Exchange]

Nov 18, 2010

Bauer-Power’s on Hiatus!

I have decided to take a little bit of a hiatus from blogging here at Bauer-Power. I have a lot of stuff I have to catch up on in real life, and I really want to focus in on that. Don’t worry though, Bauer-Power isn’t going anywhere, just taking a short break. I promise I will pick up writing on the blog here around mid December.

Just to let you know, I have two really important certifications I am working on right now. One is for my VMware VCP4 certification for my career, and the other is to certify my second degree black belt in Karate with the World Martial Arts Ranking Association (WMARA). Did that last one catch you by surprise?

That’s right, when I was in fourth grade my parents put me in Karate at East-West Karate in Littleton Colorado under Fred Bode. Mr. Bode developed his own unique style of Karate, like many American martial artists do, by combining several different styles. The style he taught was called Bushi No Te Ryu. Mr. Bode retired from teaching his style in the mid 90’s. A few years before he retired I earned a second degree black belt at his school. Not long after that, the school began to change. They hired a business manager to run the school, and take over the business aspect because they weren’t making enough money. After that it started to become less like a martial arts school, and more of a business. My brother and I decided it was time to leave.

A few years later I wanted to see what going to a tournament was like. Mr. Bode believed that Karate was for self defense and not for showing off, so we never competed in tournaments. It’s funny that he taught that though, because he himself was a kick boxer. Anyway, I decided to join a local Taekwondo school in my home town of Conifer Colorado. I joined the local ATA (American Taekwondo Association) school which taught Songahm Taekwondo. They honored my black belt there after making me come to a black belt class to prove my skills. Since I was paying for it and I had to learn their style in only a month, I went to every class I could. Some times three times a night until I felt I had a good enough grasp on their forms, and I was in good enough shape to compete. After the tournament, I dropped back out. Taekwondo was just too expensive for a teen working part time, and I didn’t like the way ATA was ran. To me it is like the McDonalds of Taekwondo, and their main concern is for tournaments, not real life applications. That was about 13 years ago.

About a month ago a local Taekwondo instructor from Family Karate in Escondido California came to my daughter’s school. His name is Stephen Truscott, and is a 7th degree black belt in Taekwondo. He was offering free “life lessons” classes to my daughter’s kindergarten class. I told my wife how important martial arts can be to a kid growing up because it teaches them respect and discipline. That was exactly what he was teaching. We decided to sign her up. After taking the class, my daughter earned her white belt, and I got to meet and talk to Mr. Truscott. He invited me to train with my daughter at the school, and he would too honor my black belt, but he is requiring me to certify my belt with the WMARA.

In order to get back up to speed after taking 13 years off, I feel that I have to dedicate a great deal of my free time to training. I think this is an amazing opportunity though to get back on track. The founder of Shotokan Karate, which is a base for my original style of Karate, and Mr. Truscott’s style of Taekwondo, Gichin Funakoshi, believed that Karate is a life long pursuit, and I sort of let that slip away. Also, after watching some videos about Martial Arts frauds like Frank Dux and Ashida Kim, I decided that certifying my belt with a national organization sounded like a great thing to do!

Anyway, long story short. I won’t be writing for a while while I concentrate on martial arts, and my VMware certifications. Please check back though, because I will return!

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Nov 9, 2010

Coolest Browser Speed Test Evah!

Recently I made the switch away from my old time favorite Firefox to Chrome again. I tried Chrome when it first came out, and wasn’t that impressed, but lately Firefox has gotten a little too bloated and actually slows down my system. Chrome on the other hand has improved dramatically, and has actually simplified my life. Especially with the Sync option, so now all my settings and plugins move with me no matter what computer I am on!

Anyway, we have all seen various bench mark tests done with browsers. How long does it take IE to load a page next to Safari, or Firefox vs Chrome. What about a browser versus a potato gun? How about a browser versus sound waves? All using high speed cameras! Check it out!

How cool was that? How many of you have made the switch to Chrome? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments!

Via [MakeUseOf and Youtube]

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Nov 8, 2010

Share your Keyboard and Mouse With Other Operating Systems

Back in the day, at my first IT job every one had multiple test computers under their desks. This was when the idea of virtualization was still fairly new, and a lot of people hadn’t adopted the idea of running test machines virtually. Lots of these test machines ran different operating systems. Some ran Windows, some ran Linux, and some even ran Solaris. It just depended on what the person was working on, or was trying to learn.

Many of us also had multiple monitors, or KVM switches hooked up so we could work with all these machines. It would have been really nice to setup multiple monitors, and simple share one keyboard and mouse pair right? I mean all you have to do is drag the mouse to another monitor, and bam! You are working on a different OS! Well, now you can!

There is a really cool free open source program called Synergy that allows you to do exactly that! From their page:

Synergy is FOSS that lets you easily share a single mouse and keyboard between multiple computers with different operating systems, without special hardware. All you need is a LAN connection. It's intended for users with multiple computers, where each system uses its own display.

SynergyI know I mentioned Solaris above, but Synergy only really supports Windows, Linux and Mac right now. If you want it for anything else, the source code is available for you to make it work with something else.

Know of other cool software that allows you to work on multiple OS’s easier? Let us know in the comments!

Nov 5, 2010

Edit PDF Forms Online For Free

You ever get emailed PDF forms, but you don’t have any way to edit it electronically because it’s locked, or you don’t have Adobe Pro or Standard? Yeah me too. In fact, my HR department sent out a questionnaire to the team the other day as a PDF. Most people just printed it out, and filled it out by hand. Not me though, I found a tool that let me fill it out electronically for FREE!

This tool is an online tool and it is called Fill Any PDF! The idea is simple, you take a PDF that you need to fill out, you upload it to their site, and fill it out, then download the edited version! If you are worried about passing semi sensitive document across the Internet, the site is encrypted with SSL. I wouldn’t however trust them with anything top secret. That’s just me though!

Here is a list of features from their page:

  • FillAny Form No Software Needed - No software is needed to fill out forms. Everything is done online.
  • Fill out Forms - Fill out PDF Forms online with variable font sizes and colors.
  • Sign Documents - Sign forms just by typing your name. Fill Any PDF provides the traceability necessary for the "digital signature" to be valid.
  • Share Forms - Share blank and filled forms with coworkers or anyone you want.
  • Invite Others - Invite people to fill out forms. You can customize your message to each person or send a group invitation.
  • View Completed Invitations - See exactly who filled out which form and when. If you invite people to fill out a form, you can see exactly which form they filled out.
  • Use Any PDF - Any PDF may be used regardless of the software used to make the PDF. The PDF does not need "fields" to be added to the form. The entire form becomes fillable when it is imported.
  • No Printing - Paper does not need to be printed, saving you time, money, and frustration. It saves a few trees and reduces your carbon footprint as well.
  • Edit Forms - White-out and Redaction tools let you modify old forms to get just the form you need so you don't have to find the original or create the form again.
  • No Scanning or Faxing - When other people fill out your forms, they do not have to print and then scan and email the form back to you. This means you will get more forms returned in less time.

 

Know of any other free PDF editors? I am not a big Adobe fan, so I am always looking for free alternatives to their products! Let us know in the comments!

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Nov 4, 2010

How To “Hack” a Combination Padlock

First of all, before I get into this really cool padlock trick, I want to say that last week was really good for blogging! If you follow me on Twitter at all, you know I was in VMware training all last week. Since I do a lot of VMware work at my day job, a lot of the class was redundant. I had to take it however to satisfy a requirement to take the VCP certification. Anyway, while the teacher was talking about stuff I do normally, it gave me a chance to catch up on the blog!

Ok, so back to the topic. You all want to break into lockers or whatever right? Well, let me just say that doing so is illegal, and I assume no responsibility if you misuse this information!

So I found this really cool tutorial from The Thrillest. Just follow this chart, and the three simple instructions below and you will soon be opening closed combo locks in no time!

Padlock Hack Click the image to make full size

  • Starting at 0, gently pull down as though opening the lock, then slowly spin the dial counter-clockwise until it sticks. If the number is a whole number (i.e. not resting in between two numbers) record it, continuing the process until you reach 0 again. At this point you should have 5 whole numbers.
  • Four of the five numbers will end in the same digit -- the one that doesn't is the last number in your lock's three-number combo. Since certain numbers on a padlock are inextricably linked, this number narrows down the possible combinations to 100.
  • Trial-and-error out the combination grid in the image above, and pull the lock open.

 

Pretty cool right? There is one thing I found in the Navy that works better and faster though. In fact, it also works on keyed pad locks too. It's called a bolt cutter!

Via [The Thrillest]

Nov 3, 2010

The Last Password You Will Ever Need

I have found the best, free, cross platform, cross browser password manager of all friggin’ time! Yes, you read that correctly, the best of all time, and it is free!

Why does one need a password manager? The answer is because like most people these days you probably have multiple accounts, on multiple websites across the Internet. To be secure you should have different passwords on all those sites to keep the bad guys guessing. Most of us don’t though right? Most of us use the same password for everything so we can remember it. That or we rotate a few passwords all the time. At least that is what a lot of the users at my company do.

What a password manager does is it allows us to use random, or semi-random passwords on all the sites we use. You know, really long passwords that even we can’t remember, Something like:

QX`c=qxnAFTFHgtk;'~DvFr{{$1}sQf(

How can your remember that? Could you imagine typing that all by yourself? Hell no! If it’s hard for you to do though, imagine how hard it would be for the bad guys to guess, or brute force!

There are many password managers out there, but I don’t know any that work quite like this tool. The tool I’m writing about encrypts your passwords on your computer and syncs the encrypted info to their servers online, and allows you to sync your encrypted database with every computer you use!

It is cross platform too, so you can sync it with your Windows, Mac or Linux computers on any browser you might be using including IE, Firefox, Chrome and Safari! This tool is called LastPass!

lastpassNow that I have it installed, when I go to a new site that requires a password, I login as usual, but instead of getting the prompt from the browser to remember my password, I get prompted from LastPass!

lastpass-chromeIf I select the option to remember the password, I can fill out some options like what category the credentials belong in, if I want to see the password prompt each time, or if LastPass should just auto login for me!

Now that your password is saved and encrypted, when you go to another computer, and login to your LastPass account those passwords will sync up, and you are good to go. The only password you will ever have to remember again is your LastPass password!

Is LastPass really secure though? Here is what they have to say:

LastPass uses SSL exclusively for data transfer even though the vast majority of data you're sending is already encrypted with 256-bit AES and unusable to both LastPass and any party listening in to the network traffic -- the amount of data is trivial so the extra encryption doesn't hurt. Our policy of never receiving private data that you haven't already locked down with your LastPass master password (which we never receive and will never ask for) radically reduces attack vectors. We use firewalls and best practices to protect the servers and service, but our best line of defense is simply not having access to data even if someone got in. If LastPass can't access it, hackers can't either.

Now that I have found this, I will be installing this on all my machines, and changing my online passwords to be random 32 characters each. Crack that mister hacker man! I actually opted for the premium package so I could use it on my mobile device as well. Why not? It's only $1 a month!

Do you use LastPass? Like it? Dislike it? Do you use something different? Let us know in the comments!

Nov 2, 2010

Unix/Linux Command Cheat Sheet!

I know I write a lot about Linux, and Ubuntu, but the fact remains that at my day job I am primarily a Windows admin. What does that mean? Well, it means that I don’t always get the chance to play in a Linux terminal. In fact, most of the time if I want to do stuff in Linux for the blog, or whatever, I have to mess with it on my own time.

Now some Linux commands are easier to remember than others because I use them more than others. Stuff like cd, nano, ls, sudo and so forth are used almost every time I do something in Linux. Other stuff like showing system uptime I rarely use, so I have to look up those commands.

Well, a writer for Fosswire.com named Jacob Peddicord created a really cool Linux/Unix quick reference cheat sheet, and he made if available for free using a Creative Commons License. Click the image below to download it!

Unix Linux Cheat Sheet ReferenceThe PDF is available in other languages as well:

I for one am going to paste this thing up by my desk at work. Not only will it help me with some commands I don’t normally use, but it will also server as a little protest to Microsoft.

[Via FOSSwire]

Nov 1, 2010

Tech Chop Ep 4: When a Sledge Hammer Meets a Dlink Router

Almost a year ago exactly my family and I moved into a new house. With that house I decided I wanted to upgrade our wireless Internet from 802.11G to 802.11N. Why not right? I mean with 802.11G you only get about 54Mbps, and with 802.11N you get up to 300Mbps. Seems like a no brainer.

Well, I decided to take a trip to Fry's and get myself a new 802.11N router. That's when I found a Dlink DIR-615 for sale. It was around $25 if I can remember correctly. After I got it all set up I thought it would work out pretty great. I was wrong. I had nothing but problems with that router. So many problems in fact, I decided to make this episode of Tech Chop about it. I figured I would give my review, then smash the living crap out of it with an 8lb sledge hammer! Enjoy the destruction!




Do you have a Dlink DIR-615? Like it? Dislike it? Let me know in the comments!

Oct 29, 2010

Exercises in Wastes of Time: Star Wars in ASCII

I have seen this in the past, but I am fairly sure I have never blogged about it. Not sure why not, I mean on a scale of zero to Über Geek, this thing breaks the scale. You see, someone with a crap load of time on their hands went ahead and re-created Star Wars using only ASCII art! The guy who created this is Simon Jansen.

There are a couple of ways you can watch this ridiculous waste of time. The first and easiest way is to browse to http://www.asciimation.co.nz. There you can watch the show via a simple web browser, as well as read the FAQ’s to find out little tid bits like how it was made, and why. For instance, here is a quote from the FAQ’s on why it was made:

[Q] Why (oh God, why)?
[A] Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Makes sense right?

ascii-website

Another way, and even geekier is to watch it via telnet! That’s right, you get geek cred for watching a movie completely in ASCII, and more geek cred for using an out-dated terminal protocol to watch it! All you have to do is telnet to towel.blinkenlights.nl using your favorite telnet client!

Star Wars Ascii

Sweet baby Jesus this is a great waste of time isn’t it? Know of more geeky things like this? I would love to melt my brain watching the entire Lord of The Rings Trilogy in ASCII!

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Oct 28, 2010

How To Enable Remote Desktop Remotely

I was stumbling around the Internet today when I came across a post written by my buddy Karl over at AskTheAdmin.com. This article didn’t come from his blog though, it came from the IT Knowledge Exchange. Still, I thought this post was really useful, so I thought I would share it with you here.

His post showed you how to enable Remote Desktop (RDP) remotely using the remote registry feature in Windows. Now I have checked, and this method works on Windows 2003 Server all the way up to Windows 2008 R2. The only thing you may have to make sure you have working though is the remote registry service on the target machine.

Here is how you do it:

  • First log on to another machine on your network.
  • Open Regedit
  • Click File –> Connect network registry.
  • Type in the servers name or IP address.
  • Click OK
  • Browse to the Hot Key Local Machine hive on the server in questions registry
  • Locate the following key: HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server
  • Click on it to show its keys.
  • Look through the keys for the REG_DWORD value called fDenyTSConnection.
  • Double-click on the value.
  • Edit the DWORD Value box and change the value data from 1 (Remote Desktop disabled) to 0 (Remote Desktop is enabled).
  • We need to restart the remote machine using the command line. Launch CMD and type in this command: shutdown -m \\servername -r -t 00

remote-rdpOnce the server reboots, you should now have RDP access! Pretty cool right?

Via [Karl Gechlik and It Knowlege Exchange]

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Oct 27, 2010

Ubuntu 11.04 Going to Unity? Bauer-Puntu is Sticking With Gnome!

I heard through various sources on the Internet that the folks at Canonical, the makers of Ubuntu are planning on getting rid of Gnome in the next version of Ubuntu which is scheduled to release in April of next year. Getting rid of

Gnome? Yep, you read that correctly. They are making the full switch over to the newer Unity interface.

Now this sort of makes sense. I mean for one, they are now using Unity in the Ubuntu Netbook Remix version which is pretty slick. Also, the man who helped start the Unity Project, Mark Shuttleworth, is also the man behind Canonical, the company that started Ubuntu. It's what we call in the business, Synergy!

Is Unity such a good idea for the desktop though? I'm not so sure. Some of you might think so. Then again, some of you like KDE too. Not me though, I am a Gnome man through and through. It's what I first started with and it's what I'm used to!

Here is a blog post from Jono Bacon, Canonical's Ubuntu Community Manager, on the recent announcement:

Mark [Shuttleworth] just announced at the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Orlando that we will be shipping the Unity environment in the Ubuntu desktop edition. Unity is the environment we shipped on the Ubuntu Netbook Edition for the first time in Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat, and users and OEMs have been enjoying the experience. It is an environment that is inspired by great design, touch, and a strong and integrated experience.

I think this is a fantastic opportunity for Free Software, and this is going to be a busy cycle. We have a lot of work to do, and we know that quality is a firm focus for this release, and we have identified a solid set of issues we need to focus on and resolve, but I know the final product will be something that we will all be proud of. Another key focus is performance; we have already started porting Unity from mutter to Compiz and the initial work is much faster, most notably on hardware that has traditionally had the most trouble from bug reports. Quality meets design meets performance. Together as a community we can make this rock.

Yeah, sorry Jono and Mark. I am just not sold. In fact, if I can help it, in the next version of Bauer-Puntu I will try to stick with the classic Gnome Interface. I may even have to switch over to use Debian as the base distro, but I will try my damndest to keep Gnome looking like Gnome.

What do you think? Is this a good move on Ubuntu's part? Do you like the new Unity Interface? Do you think people will be quick to adopt it? Let us know your take in the comments!

Oct 26, 2010

Get a Graphical View of You Hard Disks

I am sitting in a VMware class right now learning about how to install, configure and manage VMware vSphere 4.1. The thing is I do this stuff every day at my day job. So why am I here? Well, you have to take a VMware class if you want to take the VCP4 exam. It’s required. It’s also very lame! Just give me a book, and let me go take the test! Don’t make me take a $4,000 useless class!

Anyhoo, so needless to say, I’m not paying very good attention. At this moment we are learning about attaching iSCSI storage. Like I said, I do this all the time. I get it! Instead, I am surfing around on StumbleUpon looking for cool stuff, and I found something you might find interesting. It’s a Windows tool that not only shows you where all your disk space is going, but it shows you in a graphical way! It’s called WinDirStat! Here is a screen shot of my disk space in class:

 

disk-space

From their page:

WinDirStat is a disk usage statistics viewer and cleanup tool for Microsoft Windows.

On start up, it reads the whole directory tree once and then presents it in three useful views:

  • The directory list, which resembles the tree view of the Windows Explorer but is sorted by file/subtree size,
  • The treemap, which shows the whole contents of the directory tree straight away,
  • The extension list, which serves as a legend and shows statistics about the file types.

The treemap represents each file as a colored rectangle, the area of which is proportional to the file's size. The rectangles are arranged in such a way, that directories again make up rectangles, which contain all their files and subdirectories. So their area is proportional to the size of the subtrees. The color of a rectangle indicates the type of the file, as shown in the extension list. The cushion shading additionally brings out the directory structure.

One of the things I like is the little Pacman figure when it does it’s initial scan of the drive! For practical uses though, I think this is a good tool for file server administrators because it allows you to run a report on a particular folder and send an email to the owner to tell them how much space they are using, and to clean it up!

email to end user

What tools do you use to monitor disk space usage? Are they free? Do they provide cleanup options? Let us know in the comments!

Oct 22, 2010

Bauer-Puntu Linux 10.10 is Available!

Bauer-Puntu 11.04 is out!

As promised, I have released a new version of Bauer-Puntu Linux due to it’s surprising popularity! For instance, just last month Bauer-Puntu 10.04 was downloaded over 6,000 times! That is 5,999 times more than I ever thought. Who knew that it would be so popular?

I think the popularity really stems from my Bauer-Power video where I show people how easy it is to reset or blank local administrator passwords using Bauer-Puntu and CHNTPW. I also did another video showing how easy it is to hack WEP keys using Grim Wepa and Bauer-Puntu. If you are wondering, yes both of those packages are in the new release!

I did something a little different with this version. I tried it in the past, but it was too hard to do before. This time I got things figured out. I built this distro using the Ubuntu Minimal CD, so I was able to keep a whole lot of bloat off the system. What does this mean? It means a faster running operating system than the standard Ubuntu distro, as well as a faster install time! Still though, even with using the Ubuntu Minimal CD, I wasn’t able to keep this thing under 1GB, so it still has to run on a DVD or at least a 2GB USB Thumb drive.

Speaking of USB Thumb drives, I decided not to make a USB image this time as too many people had problems with it last time. I think it is best to download the ISO and write it to USB following the instructions in step two here: (Ubuntu USB Instructions)

Here is a short list of programs I included in this distro:

I also added the following by request:

Finally I installed Google Chrome as the default browser this time. Lately I have just found Firefox to be too resource intensive, and thought I would give Chrome another go. I’m sure there are some other apps that I put on there, but it’s escaping me at the moment. I guess you will just have to download it to see!

Here are some screen shots:

boot splash

Live DVD boot Screen

desktop

Desktop

grimwepa

Grim Wepa

social engineer toolkit

SET (Social Engineer Toolkit)

metasploit

Metasploit

installer

Installer

login screen

Login Screen

Okay, I know you want the goods. Here are the download links. If you want to use the Torrent method, I would only ask that you seed it for at least 24 hours after downloading it to help me out!

Also, it’s not easy to make this distro every 6 months. It takes a lot of time and effort away from my friends and family. I would appreciate it a great deal if you could donate some money to the cause.

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Oct 21, 2010

How To Make Network Manager Applet Work After a Minimal Install of Ubuntu

I am in the process of making Bauer-Puntu Linux 10.10. This time around I wanted to try my hand at using the Ubuntu Minimal CD so I can keep the distro small, and not have a lot of stuff I don’t use on it. I tried this for version 10.04, but I couldn’t get the proprietary drivers to work right. This time around, that worked fine, but for some reason the Network Manager Applet would not show up in the notification area like it would if I did a full install of Ubuntu. After searching around for a while, I finally got it to work!

I will walk you through setting up a Mininmal install of Ubuntu, then how to get Network Manager Applet to work. Once that is working, you should be good to go on the rest of your customizations.

  1. Download the latest Ubuntu Minimal CD
  2. Install it like usual, and don’t select any packages when prompted
  3. After the install, reboot and login.
  4. Edit your apt-sources by un-commenting (Remove #) out all commented repositories (Follow these instructions)
  5. Update your sources by running the following:

    >sudo apt-get update

  6. Download a modified version of the script mentioned here: (How To Achieve Ubuntu Minimal) by doing the following:

    >wget http://ftp.bauer-power.net/dl/ubuntu-mini.sh

  7. Once downloaded, make the script executable by doing the following:

    >chmod +x ubuntu-mini.sh

  8. Execute the script by doing the following:

    >sudo sh ubuntu-mini.sh

  9. Wait for the script to work it’s magic, and install your minimal Ubuntu system!

Bauer-Puntu Linux Ok, now that you have achieved Ubuntu Minimal now the part about getting Network manager Applet to work right comes into play. Here is what you have to do:

  1. Open a terminal and issue the following:

    >sudo /etc/init.d/networking stop
    >gksudo gedit /etc/network/interfaces

  2. Comment out everything under “The Primary Network Interface” in /etc/network/interfaces
  3. Open /etc/NetworkManager/nm-system-settings.conf with your favorite text editor:

    >gksudo gedit /etc/NetworkManager/nm-system-settings.conf

  4. In section [ifupdown] find the line managed=false and replace it with managed=true. Save and quit.
  5. Run the following commands from the terminal, and you should now see the Network Manager Applet running in the notification area!

    >sudo service networking start
    >sudo service network-manager restart

I wish I had found this trick for the last two version of Bauer-Puntu! It is way easier to start with a minimal install than it is to start with full blown Ubuntu and removing the bloat.

If you are waiting for Bauer-Puntu 10.10 to come out. Please be patient. It should be ready in the next few days or so. That is, as long as I can find the time to keep working on it!

Via [Ubuntu Forums and Ubuntu Wiki]

Oct 20, 2010

Add “Run” To Windows 7

I have never blogged on this topic before because I figured most people already knew this, or didn’t care. It turns out that a few of you still don’t know that the Run line in Windows never went away, they just hid it. Why? I don’t know. I just work here!

When someone describes how to open a command prompt in Windows what do they say to do? Click Start >Run type in CMD and press OK right? Or at least something similar to that. Sure by default you can type CMD in the search box and get the same thing, but what if you want to browse the admin share on another computer in the network? The search box doesn’t help you there.

To turn “Run” back on in Windows 7 is pretty easy though so don’t fret. Just do the following:

  • Right click on Start and click on Properties

properties

  • On the Start Menu tab click Customize

customize

  • Scroll down the list and check the box for Run command then click OK

check box

  • Click Apply then OK and you’re done!

Now if you click on Start, you have your good buddy “Run” staring back at you in the face!

run Windows 7

Have any Windows 7 tips you think people should know? Let us know in the comments!

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Oct 19, 2010

How To Sync iTunes Playlists with Android

So you have finally decided ditch your pretentious hunk of junk known as an iPhone, and decided to step up to the big leagues and got yourself a Google Android device? Good man (or woman)! Now you are almost ready to cry to your momma because you have created Gigs of music in iTunes, and have created the ultimate collection of play lists and they are lost forever! Am I right? You are afraid that you made a mistake switching to Android because you can't easily sync those playlists with your sweet Google "muscle phone"! Well dry your tears you sissy, and take the first bus out of namby pamby land because I have a program that will solve all your problems!

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I managed to fix my wife's iPhone 3G until I completely broke it. I'm not saying I simply messed up some firmware, not I completely took that sumabitch apart! Anyhoo, to make it up to my poor wife I bought her a brand new HTC Evo 4G from Sprint. Seeing how Android is infinitely better than iOS, I figured that was for the best. The only trouble is my wife has grown used to the iPhone! She has also grown used to creating playlists and syncing her MP3's using iTunes.

Not a problem, you see there is a really cool program for both Windows and Mac that allows you to import your music and playlist settings from iTunes, and then sync your music and playlists with your Android device. It's called DoubleTwist, and it even looks like similar iTunes! Check out this screen shot:



Syncing is easy, just install Doubletwist, then plug your Android phone into your computer and select to use your phone as a disk drive option. DoubeTwist will automatically discover your phone, and you can start syncing! DoubleTwist will also sync playlists from Windows Media player!

Besides syncing playlist, you can also search and buy music easily from Amazon's MP3 search, as well as browse the Android market for the latest apps, and finally browse and search for podcasts to sync with your Android. All from the convenience of your desktop or laptop computer! It's like iTunes for Android except better, because it was made by those no good ass clowns at Apple!

Know of a different way to sync your music to Anroid? How do you do it? Let us know in the comments!

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Oct 13, 2010

Tech Chop Episode 3 – Five Free Antiviruses

My monthly Tech Chop video was a little late this month. I had my folks in from Colorado, and they were helping me build a tree house for my kids in the back yard. When they left, my wife’s cousins came over the next day. When all the extended family left, we simply needed a break, and I didn’t have time to film an episode.

Well, I finally got it finished last night, so here it is, Episode 3 of Tech Chop! In this episode I give you my five favorite free antivirus programs! I thought I would make a video on free antivirus programs because a lot of average home users don’t know that they can protect their computers from viruses and malware for free.

 

If you want to download any of the antivirus programs, here are the links:

Do you have any other favorite antivirus programs? Let us know your favorites in the comments!

Oct 8, 2010

Theme of the Week #3: AlienAqua Blue Theme

This blue glossy theme or android phones is pretty sweet. Designed by parsh a professional designer it stands a bit above other themes with a sleek look. It can be used with CyanogenMod and MetaMorph. He also offers up all his backgrounds and icons in a zip file. My favorite part of this theme is the clock widget, it’s got a steam punk mixed with Star Trek look and feel to it.

 

Get the Theme Here

 

Android-AlienAqua-Blue-Theme-5 Android-AlienAqua-Blue-Theme Android-AlienAqua-Blue-Theme-1 Android-AlienAqua-Blue-Theme-3 Android-AlienAqua-Blue-Theme-6

 

By FreedomChicken



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