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Jun 30, 2010

The End Of An Era: No More Geekbrief.tv

This morning I was surfing through Mediafly on my Palm Pre checking out my favorite podcasts, when I stumbled on one that rather shocked me. The podcast was from one of my favorite podcasts because it gives “Shiny happy tech news.” It is called Geekbrief.tv.

The title of it was called, “The Final Episode.” When I saw that I said to myself, “Final Episode? WTF?” So of course I had to watch it. Apparently Geekbrief.tv was having some business differences with their partner Mevio that couldn’t be resolved, so Cali Lewis and the team took the high road, and decided to end the Geekbrief.tv franchise.

I first discovered Geekbrief.tv when I first got my Tivo a few years ago as it was offered as one of the free podcast downloads. That is also where I discovered my favorite Revision3 shows I frequently talk about. Geekbrief.tv has been around since 2005, and I am sure that some of you out there followed the show.

Here is the final episode:

Speaking of Revision3… There is some good news coming out of this. Cali Lewis has moved on to her new home at Revision3 with her new podcast Geekbeat.tv!

Here is the first episode (Teaser):



 

If you used to subscribe to Geekbrief.tv, you can now subscribe to Geekbeat.tv here: (Geekbeat Subscribe)

Jun 29, 2010

Fry’s Electronics' Elaborate Themes!

If you have ever shopped at a Fry’s Electronics store, you know full well how incredibly awesome they can be. Anything your geeky mind can conceive, they probably have it, or parts to help you build it (Except Microphones with 1/8” Mini Stereo Jacks, but that is a different post). Well, I didn’t realize it until I moved last October, but some of these Fry’s stores have some seriously elaborate themes!

The store closest to my house is located in San Marcos California, and not only does it have kick ass electronics, computer/networking gear, toys, etc. It is also all decked out in a brilliant Atlantis theme!

I want to point out that Fry’s is not a direct Bauer-Power sponsor, so the purpose of this post is not to get you to head to Fry’s to buy stuff, but to get you to go take a look at how awesome the store is in general!

According to Wikipedia:

frys electronics Following the lead of the Fremont store, new Fry's locations continued the use of elaborate themes and various designed props until well into the late 1990s. For example, the Burbank store which opened in 1995 is themed upon 1950s and 1970s science fiction movies, and features huge statues of popular characters such as the robot Gort from The Day the Earth Stood Still and Darth Vader from the Star Wars movie series. In addition, giant ants (from the movie Them!) hang from the ceiling, and the bodies of 1957 Chevys and Buicks serve as dining tables in the cafe. A flying saucer protrudes above the entrance. With construction, land purchase and theming, the Burbank store cost $15 million to open. [citation needed]

Some other themes include, California stores: Tahiti (Manhattan Beach), Ancient Rome (Fountain Valley), Wild West (Palo Alto), Mayan temple at Chichen Itza (San Jose), Alice in Wonderland (Woodland Hills), History of Silicon Valley (Sunnyvale), Ancient Egypt (Campbell), 1893 Chicago World's Fair (Fremont), Industrial Revolution (City of Industry), California Gold Rush (Sacramento), NASA Space Center (Anaheim), 19th-Century California Railroads (Roseville), and Atlantis (San Marcos). Arizona stores: Aztec temple (Phoenix). Nevada stores: History of the Strip (Las Vegas). Texas Stores: Music Industry (Austin), History of Irving (Irving), Lazy-K Ranch (Dallas), Oil Industry (Houston) and Space Exploration, including a replica of the International Space Station (Webster).[5] Since Fry's acquired the Incredible Universe chain of stores, the company has reduced the elaborateness of its theming. With the opening of the Fishers, Indiana store, Fry's made a "race track" theme with various hanging displays, including "stop" and "go" signs.

I had to go to Fry’s this weekend to pick up a new heat sink and some RAM for my wife’s computer. I had been there before, but this time I decided to shoot some video using my Palm Pre. Check it out:



 

I’m not sure my Palm Pre really does it justice. If you live in the San Diego area, take a Saturday and head up there. It blows the friggin’ pants off the Mission Valley one!

Got a Fry’s in your area? I would love to see some pictures or videos of it. Post some links in the comments!

Jun 28, 2010

Episode 23 - Full Hard Drive Encryption in Windows

I have blogged in the past about the software I use in this episode of Bauer-Power, but I thought I would do a video about it as well. I did the video on Full Hard Drive encryption due to a request from Bauer-Power viewer Jessica from Facebook.

Jessica said I needed to do some videos on how people can protect themselves from some of the hacking attacks I did in episode 19 and episode 22. This video shows how one can protect themselves from offline password attacks using full hard drive encryption.

In the video I use Truecrypt to perform the full hard drive encryption. As mentioned in the video, I didn’t use Bitlocker because it isn’t available in all version of Windows 7, and it is limited to certain types of processors. Truecrypt can be use to fully encrypt a hard drive no matter what flavor of Windows you are using, including Windows XP.

This video is a little longer than my standard 10 minutes, sorry about that. Anyway, here it is:



 

I want to do some more episode on how to do full hard drive encryption in Linux and possibly in OSX. Do you have any good recommendations for Linux and OSX? I know you can created an Encrypted LVM in Ubuntu at install time, but I would love to know of an easy way to do it after Ubuntu has been installed. If you know, hit me up in the comments!

Jun 25, 2010

Coming Soon, New and Improved Bauer-Power Videos!

I don't know if you know, but I have been slowly working on trying to bring you guys better quality videos for a while, and I believe I am a little bit closer! I recently bought a new camera with a mic jack! To go with the cool mic jack I purchased a new stereo microphone! I also went ahead and purchased a new blue screen back drop so I can give chroma keying another whirl! Yes there will be all new and improved Bauer-Power videos coming soon!

If you have been watching my Bauer-Power videos, I tried the chroma key thing using a green sheet, and Debugmode's Wax, but it was too much of a pain in the ass! I recently acquired a copy of Sony Vegas Pro, and with it chroma keying is pretty flippin' easy! Also I think I figured out my lighting using some shop lights, desk lights, and some white poster boards as bounce boards. Check it:

blue_screen

Since I finally got all the components in place, i decided to do a little test video to try things out. I am pretty happy with it. Here it is:


 

What do you think? Like it? Dislike it? Have any tips or suggestions? Hit me up in the comments!

Jun 24, 2010

Internet Kill Switch? Bad Idea!

I try to keep politics out our my posts on Bauer-Power, but every once and a while I like to post stuff about what our Government is up to. Bauer-Power’s own FreedomChicken is always writing up some of the shady stuff the government is doing that violates our rights as Americans.

The latest scary bit of dictator-esque maneuvering from the Government comes in the form of an Internet Kill Switch. It is a bill proposed by Senator Joe Lieberman and Senator Susan Collins, and would give President Obama the power to effectively shutdown all Internet communications in the United States under the guise of national defense. WTF?

Obviously these two retards don’t understand what is riding on the Internet these days. Money transfers, VoIP telephone communications, public records, and just about everything else! Haven’t they seen the movie Live Free or Die Hard? That was how terrorists took over America in the movie. They took control of all communications channels including the Internet!

Now this of course isn’t the movies, and movies aren’t real, but can you imaging what would happen to the country if almost all of our communications stopped? It would be the friggin’ dark ages all over again! In fact, shutting down all Internet communications could potentially HELP whoever would be attacking us! Think about it!

Here is a video about the proposed Internet Kill switch from Newsy.com

 

 

Here is a great quote from Marcus Carey of Examiner.com:

History is a great teacher and within the last century alone we have many lessons which teach that censorship, propaganda and the disruption of normal lines of communication have more often been among the first weapons employed by would be dictators than the tools of democracy.

What’s your take on this? Do you think the Government should be allowed to have this kind of power? Do you think it is a good idea? Why? Let us know in the comments.

Jun 23, 2010

Bauer-Power Sticker Action Photos!

I have been getting a ton of email lately. Mostly about Bauer-Puntu Linux, and Episode 19. I also think the strong influx of emails has been due to the giant Contact Me link at the top of the blog. If you remember the old layout, I had the contact me link buried in the lower right of the blog, and nobody ever used it… Hmmmm…

Anyhoo, I got an email the other day from a young man by the name of Tommy Bobrowitz of Waterford Pennsylvania. Apparently young Tommy had Bauer-Puntu installed on his laptop, and was doing some wireless pentesting using Grim Wepa. (All legal I am sure :-P) After he was done cracking wireless access points, he wanted to know where Grim Wepa stored the passwords. Here is his original email:

hey i got bauer-puntu on my laptop and am cracking my home wep just for fun...i did a fragmentation attack and got like over 400k #data really fast...so i went and cracked it and i cant seem to find were the password was stored, thank you for your time please get back to me as soon as possible, and over all i have loved this os great job in making it.

First of all, I was rather impressed by this guys ability to crack his wireless so quickly. Second, I was flattered to know he wasn’t just using Bauer-Puntu as a live USB/DVD, but actually had it installed on his laptop! How cool is that? I decided to send Mr. Bobrowitz some Bauer-Power stickers to go with his Bauer-Puntu laptop. He took the stickers, and put them not only on the front and back of his laptop, but also scanned one of them, and created a third sticker for his desktop computer! Check it out:

Bauer-Puntu Linux 1Bauer-Puntu Linux 2Bauer-Puntu Linux 3

If you want to pimp out your computer(s) with some free Bauer-Power stickers, use the contact me form and tell me about your Bauer-Puntu setup! If you have Bauer-Puntu installed as your main operating system, or in a dual boot setup I will send you some! Just include your mailing address in the email!

Already have some Bauer-Power stickers? Email me your action shots and I will put them up here on Bauer-Power! Just send the pictures to info (at) bauer-power.net!

Jun 22, 2010

HTC EVO 4G V.S. Droid Incredible

This sort of topic is something rather important to me. The reason being is ever since last August when I made the switch to Sprint and the Palm Pre I decided that I would like to stick with Sprint. I think their customer service is top notch, and I rarely find areas where I don’t have service. My only issue has been my Palm Pre.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my Palm Pre too, it is just that I am rather disappointed in it. The build quality kind of sucks, and there isn’t a big app market for it. Also, ever since Palm sold out to HP I realized that there isn’t a big future in it. Now Android, that is where it is at! I mean Google is smart to open their OS to every carrier because it makes for a more universal product, and the more universal, the more people will adopt it. The more people adopt it, the more apps and the better the quality will be.

I have decided that in August when I am eligible for an upgrade, I will most likely get an Android phone, and the current Android heavy-weight at Sprint is the new HTC Evo 4G. Answering the call for a Android phone, Verizon is pimping their new Droid Incredible also by HTC. I decided to see which one was the best, and if I should possibly move back to Verizon for the better phone.

Below Cnet did a comparison which I think may help my decision a bit. Check it out:

As you can see in the video, the HTC Evo 4G beat out the Droid Incredible in almost every area except battery life. Not a show stopper for me because the battery life on my Palm Pre sucks too, so I am used to it.

What do you think? Are you going with the HTC Evo or the HTC Incredible? Why do you like one over the other? Let me know your opinion in the comments.

Jun 21, 2010

Could It Be? A Cool Geeky Linux Chick?

So there I was, surfing around Youtube like I like to do every once and a while. I spend a lot of time there because I host my Bauer-Power videos there, along with many other video websites on the Internet. While I was there I stumbled onto a really interesting vlogger. Now, I found this vlogger interesting for one, because their videos are mainly on Linux and Open Source, but also because she is a relatively hot chick! What? A hot chick that loves Linux? Could it be? They exist in the wild? Interesting.

You may have heard of her. I mean, she has has over 37,000 subscribers on Youtube. That is pretty damned good if you ask me. Her name is Nixie Pixel. She also does video game reviews, and talks about other geeky stuff going on in her life, or geeky things she's interested in. Many of her tutorials are perfect for Linux n00bs, and are designed for beginners.

Here Nixie tells us about some of her favorite Open Source alternatives to overpriced commercial software in her video titled, "Go Open Source or Go Home."



You can subscribe to Nixie's Youtube channel here: youtube.com/nixiepixel

Alternatively, you can get your Nixie Pixel fix on her  website NixiePixel.com where you can watch her videos, check out photos, find out more about her, or even contact her.

Who are your favorite e-famous geeky chicks on the interwebz? I know Nixie can't be the only one out there. Let us know your favorites in the comments!

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Jun 18, 2010

How To Setup A Microsoft Failover Cluster in VMWare vSphere 4.0.0

I love me some VMWare! I think it is one of those killer apps that has revolutionized Information Technology. Think about it, with virtualization you can save money on hardware, and still scale out your server environment. Also, it allows you to perform disaster recovery easier, because you can restore entire servers in a matter of hours instead of days. Also, VMWare specifically has made their product very easy to use and it is very intuitive.

That being said, setting up a Microsoft Failover cluster isn’t as straight forward as you would want. It took my boss and I a little while to figure this out on our own since our VMWare certified colleague is no longer with us to hold our hands. Still, we got it sorted out, and I thought I would share with you how we were able to do it. By the way, this guide is for Windows Server 2008 R2. There may be slight differences if you do this in other versions of Windows.

  1. Deploy two identical servers with only one hard drive to start. Lets call them ServerA and ServerB
  2. Join them to your domain, then go ahead and power them off
  3. Provision Two LUNs on your SAN or NAS. One with a minimum of 512KB for use as a shared Quorum disk. The other as big as you want.
  4. Make sure your VMWare hosts can see the LUNs.
  5. On ServerA, Edit the settings and add a new Hard disk using Raw Device Mappings, and select your the LUN you created for a Quorum disk
  6. Assign the disk to SCSI (1:0), This is important!

    Scsi

  7. Ensure that the SCSI Controller Type is configured as LSI Logic SAS (This is important too!) LSI Logic SAS
  8. Set the SCSI Controller’s BUS Logic to Virtual if ServerA and ServerB will be hosted on the same VMWare host, or Physical if they will be on different hosts. If you have DRS enabled, I recommend using Physical.

    ScsiBus
  9. Do the same thing, and add the second LUN, and assign it to SCSI (1:1) on ServerA.
  10. Now on ServerB, we will add the two disks, but a little differently.
  11. Instead of adding Raw Device Mappings, you will select to use an Existing Virtual Disk
  12. Browse to the disks you created for ServerA (It is easier if you store them with ServerA)
  13. Assign each disk to SCSI (1:0) and SCSI (1:1) like you did on ServerA
  14. Make sure you set the same settings for the SCSI controller as you did in steps 7 and 8.
  15. Now the groundwork is ready, it is time to power on the VM’s
  16. On ServerA, Bring the new disks Online, Initialize them and Format them with NTFS
  17. On ServerB, just bring the disks online
  18. On ServerA and ServerB, Install Failover Clustering from Server Manager > Add Features
  19. After a reboot (If required) on ServerA Open Failover Cluster Manager From Start > Administrative Tools
  20. Select Create a Cluster and follow the wizard adding both ServerA and ServerB
  21. Done

Once all the above is complete, you are ready to configure whatever application you were planning to use Failover clustering on. SQL, IIS, whatever!

Did this help you out? Did my steps make sense? Got questions? Hit me up in the comments!

Reference: VMWare

[Via @cnamoca]

Jun 17, 2010

How To Setup A Simple PPTP VPN Server in Ubuntu Linux

Many companies require users to work from home either periodically, or permanently. Maybe a company has field sales. Maybe the executives have to work late nights on presentations and proposals. IT guys certainly have to be able to connect back to the network to fix problems at odd hours. In these cases, companies need a secure method of connecting back in. That method is usually some sort of VPN solution.

I have to say that my favorite VPN solution is not an Open Source one, or one running on Linux for that matter. I know, slap me in the mouth right? No, my favorite is Microsoft’s SSTP, because it is an SSL VPN, so it can get through virtually any firewall. What I mean by that is when a hotel is filtering gre traffic outbound, those who have PPTP VPN’s won’t be able to connect, but since SSL is used a lot on the web, nobody filters it on the outbound, so your SSTP traffic will get through.

linux-poptop That being said, PPTP isn’t completely useless. In fact it is still a very convenient VPN solution because almost every operating system has a client for it. Microsoft’s PPTP setup is every bit as easy to setup as their SSTP solution. The only problem is that you have to pay Microsoft a license for your VPN server. If you don’t want to waste your hard earned money on a silly license just for VPN use, I have a solution for you. Enter Poptop for Linux.

Poptop is an Open Source VPN server for Linux, and installing it and configuring it a snap! To install it just run the following:

>sudo apt-get install pptpd

You can find your configuration files under /etc/ppp/. To add users edit /etc/ppp/chap-secrets with your favorite text editor:

>sudo nano /etc/ppp/chap-secrets

Enter each user as follows:

user    pptpd     password       “*”

You can also have your Poptop server hand out IP addresses. Just specify a range in /etc/pptpd.conf by finding the line remoteip:

remoteip 192.168.1.200-250

Finally, you can set various encryptions settings by editing /etc/ppp/pptpd-options!

This kind of solution is a quick, easy and inexpensive VPN solution for any company. Like I said before, since everything is Open Source, you pay no licenses, and you can add as many users as your server will handle.

What VPN solutions are you using at your company? Cisco, Sonicwall, SSTP, PPTP, OpenVPN? Do you like it? Hate it? Looking for something easier and cheaper? Let us know in the comments.

Jun 16, 2010

Quick and Dirty Media Server For Your Wii

My wife and I are in the market to save a few bucks. In this economy who isn't right? My buddy and fellow Bauer-Power contributor, Sundance, has been preaching up and down for the last few years how people should make the full switch from cable/satellite TV and move strictly to using Internet media. In fact, he was even interviewed by the New York Times about how he was able to do it. Going strictly Internet of course includes content from Hulu, downloads from Bittorrent, podcasts, etc.

Most of us don't want to stay huddled around a computer to watch TV though, and that is where media servers come in. Sundance has blogged in the past about using Tversity. I gave it a try, but found it froze up a lot, and was slow on my Nintendo Wii. Eventually I think I want to either get an Mvix Ultio or a WD Live TV Plus. I will probably go with the latter because it is cheaper. We'll see.

Anyhoo, in an effort to convince my wife that we can save money by ditching AT&T Uverse TV, and just keep the Internet I needed to setup a home media server. Since I don't have $120 of disposable income at the moment, I thought I would try turning my Wii into a media server. It turns out it is ridiculously easy!

Like I mentioned above, I tried Tversity, and didn't like it too much. You might have better luck. What I ended up going with is another free program called Orb. Orb installs as a service on your computer, and talks back to the Orb "MyCast" servers. This is pretty cool because it gives you access to your media anywhere in the world you have a browser handy without opening ports on your firewall. You can even stream media on your iPhone!

Setup is a quick exercise in "next, next next, done" and you are ready to watch Internet media on your TV using your Wii Internet Browser. To access Orb on your Wii just browse to http://mycast.orb.com and login using your Orb account. I recommend configuring the browser bar on the Wii to auto-hide, and to save Orb as a favorite.

That being said, getting media to your computer takes a little jerry rigging. Orb isn't as self contained as Tversity. I had to install Miro to download my favorite podcasts from sites like Revision3, and I had to add TV show bittorrent RSS feeds to my uTorrent client to get the TV shows. Once that was setup, all I had to do was share out my downloads directory. Also, video on the Wii over Orb is rather grainy, but it is still watchable. Like the title says, the setup is quick but dirty. I figure this setup will suffice until I can get my Mvix or my WD Live TV box.

Are you using a media center at home? Do you have an Mvix, or WD Live TV? Do you like them or dislike them? Let me know how you view your Internet content at home in the comments!

Jun 15, 2010

Hey Verizon! What Happened To Customer Service?

I haven’t written a good rant in a while, so I thought since I had nothing better to write I would vent my current frustrations with the Internet Service provider that my parent company uses for one of their construction trailers in Los Angeles. Hell, I want to vent my frustrations with ISP’s in general! I have had plenty of problems with various ISP’s in the past, and I am sure you have too.

I have a thing for customer service. If you have been following the blog for a while, you know that I hate Acer computers because of their lousy customer service. I hate them so much, I wrote a rant about them that went to the front page of Digg.com! That kind of negative publicity cannot be good for business. I believe that if your customer has a problem, you need to make it right. Period! I have been doing customer service in one way or another since high school. I know how important it is. If you don’t treat your customers right, they soon will not be your customers.

My latest frustrations are with Verizon Business. They are supposed to be providing a simple T1 connection for our construction trailer. The problem is that we are paying for 1.5Mbps upload and download speed. We are getting 1.5Mbps upload, but only 256kbps download. WTF? No problem, just open a ticket with support right? Welcome to runaround central! Opening a ticket is easy, getting them to actually do something is not. We have had 6 open tickets with them, each one their technicians said, “The line tested fine, check your equipment” and closed the ticket. Wonderful!

Verizon Business I drove my happy ass up to LA from San Diego to check my equipment. I completely bypassed my networking gear, and plugged a laptop directly into their router using a static IP. Same results! 256kbps download speed! I called them back to let them know. They ran some tests, monitored the circuit for 24 hours, and closed the ticket. Still no resolution. I contacted their level 3, 4 and 5 management teams to complain, and that did absolutely no good. I called our account rep, and he could care less! He already had our money, why give a shit right?

This has been an ongoing issue for about two months when we got the T1 installed. We have begun searching for another provider. Possibly AT&T or Covad Wireless. We’ll see how it goes.

Like I said before, this isn’t really anything new with ISP’s. I used to have Earthlink DSL at my old apartment. Their service would stop working about every two months. It was always a hardware problem with SBC’s lines, the trouble was getting Earthlink to contact SBC on my behalf. That is always an issue isn’t it though? The problem I always seem to run into is that ISP’s NEVER want to have to open a ticket with the local loop. Do you want to know why I think that is? Because they get the same runaround they give us! I know it sucks! Friggin’ call them already! Roll a friggin’ truck!

The absolute worst ISP I have ever had to deal with though has got to be Deltacom on the East coast. We used them for two of our offices at my last company, and they were horrendous! You could call their support number, but you would never speak to an actual tech, only some dumb receptionist. If you asked to speak with a manager, or a tech they would put you on indefinite hold, or insist that they have someone call you back. Of course nobody ever would. My last company finally broke their contract with Deltacom due to poor SLA, and are much happier.

I cannot be the only one who has dealt with crappy Internet Providers. I want to know your horror stories! Come on and vent with me in the comments!

Jun 14, 2010

Lunascape – If you use anything else I feel sorry for you.

First lets start off with what Lunascape is. Well it’s a browser. I know what most of you are saying already, “OMG not another damn broswer” or “I’ll never move off my Firefox, Never!!” or maybe even “WTF there are enough ‘My browser is better than yours’ blog posts out there. I’m out of here.” and even possibly may be thinking, “Grobnar just ate a cheeseburger, how did he do that without a mouth?” But I tell you this, Lunascape really is awesome. They’re not trying to create anything new really. They are just taking the best features of everything and adding it all to one place and taking a lot of nice features and making them native to the browser itself so no need for add-ons.

How Lunascape works is that it’s a browser that renders in Trident(IE, Avant), Gecko(Firefox, Flock) and WebKit(Safari, Chrome). So say you use Firefox and IETab add-on. Well there’s no need for that here it’s built into the browser. You can also split view to say put up a website you’re working on side by side with IE and FF. Again no add-ons required. Other features that are built in and set as default is that when you type in the address bar you don’t have to create a new tab. Just type your URL and go and it’ll make a new tab for you. It also supports all Firefox add-ons when rendering a page in Firefox view it will have access to all of them and you can also manage and install them as well.

Other features Lunascape has is that it you can set a rendering engine with a host, page(and subpages or different subdomains of that pageName) or specific address. There’s also a nice little toggle button next to the address bar to switch between them. Another thing I like is that it doesn’t dumb it down in the terms it uses on the browser. Meaning that instead of just saying, IE, Firefox, Safari it actually lists the rendering engine instead. Just nice to see stuff like that in applications. It also has a huge array of browser options on top of being able to set the options for each rendering engine. Also the search bar can double as an internet search or a find/highlight on page. It can handle RSS, podcasts and even has a news ticker to use some of the empty space on your tab bar if you only have a few open. Last but not least I would like to also bring up the fact that it can be set to sort your favorites either by rank of the ones you use the most or by title so as to help make them easier to find.

By FreedomChicken

Jun 10, 2010

Error Loading Operating System After P2V

The other day a couple of my company’s dev team decided they wanted to re-image their laptops. Before they did though, they wanted to created a virtual image of their machines in VMWare. This way, they could refer back to the stuff on their old laptop images until they got everything working spiffy enough in their newly installed system. Sounded like a good idea right?

No problem I tell these guys, we can do what we call in the business as a P2V, or a Physical to Virtual conversion. VMWare has a tool called the Converter Standalone Client that will let you convert a running computer to a Virtual machine in no time!

Ok, that part was easy, but after it converted I powered the machine on and staring at me in the face was a lovely message saying:

 

Error loading operating system

 

How nice! The original computers were running Windows Server 2008. Looking online I saw a bunch of similar situations where this happened when someone tried to P2V a Linux machine. To fix it the admins had to re-install Grub. That got me thinking, I probably had a corrupt Master Boot Record on my hands.

To fix I, I grabbed my trusty Windows Server 2008 Install DVD, and booted the VM up to it. I selected the option to repair Windows and then I selected the command prompt option.

From there I changed directory to D:\boot and ran the following command:

bootsect /nt60 c: /mbr

After that was finished, I rebooted and the VM loaded Windows without any more problems!

Have you experienced a similar situation? Did you solve it differently? Let me know in the comments.

Jun 9, 2010

How To Restore a VMWare VCB Backup

Yesterday I gave you a script on how to perform regular VCB snapshots of your VMWare virtual machines to backup to external storage. Pretty cool right? I mean in the case of a disaster, being able to restore an entire VM could save your hours if not days of time. Think about it, in an old school server scenario, you would have to purchase a new server, install the OS to create a shell, and restore the data on top of that. How long can that take? Imaging being able to just stand up a box and power it back on? That is basically what VCB does for you!

The method I gave you yesterday isn’t a raw snapshot of your VM. by that I mean you can’t just copy it back to your VMWare environment, re-add it to inventory and power it on. The reason is that VCB snapshots your disk into pieces, and creates a catalog file of those pieces so it ca be restored correctly. This also allows the VCB files to traverse your network more efficiently. So how do you restore it?

vmware-logo

Well, you can mount the SMB share where you saved it, or you can do what I do. I copy the files back using WinSCP. When they are copied back to a drive, or LUN that VMWare can see, I use the vcbRestore utility to re-build the vmdk, and to add it back into inventory in vSphere. The command you run is:

vcbRestore -h FQDN.ofyourvsphereserver.com -u user -p password -s VMWareFolder/ -a VMWareFolder/catalog

In the example above change FQDN.ofyourvsphereserver.com to match the FQDN of your vSphere server. Change the user and password to a user and password with full permissions to vSphere. Change VMWareFolder to the folder name of the VM you are restoring.

When you run that you should see something like this:

Converting "/vmfs/volumes/LUN/VMWareFolder/Server.vmdk" (VMFS (flat)):
0%=====================50%====================100%
*********************************************

When that is done, you will see your machine back in inventory in vSphere waiting for you to power it back on!

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Jun 8, 2010

How To Backup VMWare Virtual Machines Using VCB

I am afraid I can’t take full credit for this method of backing up my VMWare environment. I suppose I couldn’t anyway, since VMWare invented it. Still though, I had to ask a former colleague how he did it at my previous company, so the credit for this post goes to him. Thanks Mark!

Anyhoo, if you didn’t know, VMWare has made a method for taking snapshots of the virtual machines in your environment and saving them on external storage for backing them up to tape. Many companies like Symantec have added this feature to their backup suites for a little extra. If you don’t have the cash for the extra agent fees you will need, then this solution may be for you.

The tool is called VCB, or Virtual Consolidated Backup. It is free if you are already using vSphere, just install it as a part of the custom install. Once you have it installed, you will need to create three text files. One called Servers.txt, One called VCB.cmd and One called VMBackup.cmd. Place them all together in a folder.

Now, in Servers.txt, write the names of the VM’s you want to backup, using a new line per machine. The names must match the names of your machines in vSphere. For example

vmware-logo SERVER01
SERVER02
SERVER03

You get the idea right? That is the file our script is going to call for backing up to external storage. If you ever need a machine added to the backups, just add it to the list. Got it? Good.

Now that we have our list of servers, we need to edit our VCB.cmd file. In that file put the following commands:

rd /s/q "\\fileserver\share\%1"
Echo Backup of %1 started on %date% at %time%>BackupLog.txt

"C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Consolidated Backup Framework\vcbMounter.exe" -h FQDN.ofyourvsphereserver.com -u username -p password -m nbd -t fullvm -r \\fileserver\share\%1 -a name:%1

Echo Backup of %1 completed on %date% at %time%>>BackupLog.txt

In the above example, change the name of the file server and share to match your environment. Also, change the username and password to match a vSphere user that has full permissions to your VMWare environment.

Now for the final file, VMBackup.cmd. In this file, enter the following command:

for /f %%a in (servers.txt) do call vcb.cmd %%a

This will basically pipe the names of each server into our VCB script, and will save the snapshots to external storage. Once you have all of them setup, create a scheduled task to run VMBackup.cmd on your desired schedule.

Do you use a different method to backup your VMWare environment? What do you do? Let us know in the comments.

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Jun 7, 2010

Bauer-Power Sticker Strike! Who’s With Me?

Not sure how legal this is, or even how effective it is, but I have decided to begin what I like to refer to as a Bauer-Power sticker strike. I have been toying with this idea for a little while, but never really acted upon it until yesterday afternoon while I was at the Ikea in Mission Valley with my family.

Before I go further about that, and so I can better explain what it is that I am trying to do let me ask you something. Have you ever been driving, and you were in a left turn lane where their was a street sign for oncoming traffic, and the back of it faced you? Now on said street sign, was their not a log of stickers from the local bands? Maybe a Ron Paul sticker or two? Do you see where I am going with this?

bauer-power sticker strike Well, I plan on doing the same band style sticker campaign. For two reasons, one being branding, and two because I have a crap load of Bauer-Power stickers!

Since I have so many stickers, I have put them on all of my laptops, and cars and have given them out to friends and family. The main way I give these out though is through Ubuntu Sticker Requests. That’s right, if you send me a self addressed stamped envelope, besides awesome “Powered by Ubuntu” stickers, you also get some free Bauer-Power stickers as well! Hell, if you don’t want the Ubuntu stickers and just want the Bauer-Power ones, just say so when you mail me your self addressed stamped envelope! I mean, they are free stickers so why not right?

Don’t get me wrong, they look pretty sweet on the back of your car, or laptop… I mean, check it:

CIMG0136

So I guess what I am saying is if you would like to help out, you have options. You can request your free Ubuntu stickers, or the Bauer-Power stickers by them selves, then take the Bauer-Power stickers and stick them on your laptop or car. If you don’t want to do that, find your nearest street sign and stick it there!

If you do stick it on a street sign, email me a picture of it to info (at) bauer-power.net!

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for you getting into trouble if you place a Bauer-Power sticker on a street sign. Do so at your own peril.

Jun 4, 2010

What Does your Email Address Say About Your Computer Skills?

A former colleague of mine back in my early Help Desk days pointed me to this funny pic yesterday on Facebook. I thought it was hilarious because it is so very true! How many people do you know who still have AOL addresses? I have dealt with a few of them when they call for computer support. Many of them are older ladies from the south. Just an observation... Not trying to say anything bad about the south...

Anyway, I didn't think much about it, but the below picture is true. I don't know too many IT guys without either their own domain email (Like me) or without a Gmail address. I mean, I thought it was a requirement! If I see a Yahoo, or Hotmail address these days I usually giggle a little to myself. If I see an AOL address, I run like hell! You know that support call will last all flippin' day! Take a look at the picture below. What does your email address say about you and your tech skills?


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Jun 3, 2010

Add Facebook Like button to any page in Umbraco

I’ve been using Umbraco for quite a while now and recently got a request to add the Facebook like buttons to several sections on our sites. News, Home searches, Blogs, ect… We host like 20+ websites on one Umbraco install. So coming up with an XSLT macro that could be used across domains was not as easy as I had expected. Main problem being is that I quickly found out that the umbraco.library:NiceURL() doesn’t add the hostname of the site it’s being used. Then trying to google things like ‘umbraco xslt get hostname’ or ‘how to get hostname in umbraco’ and ‘get full url in umbraco xslt’ didn’t actually turn up anything. So after some other odd researching I found that I can simply request server variables in umbraco XSLT. In that I found umbraco.library:RequestServerVariables('HTTP_HOST'). Now I finally had everything I needed to get underway with the simple little macro to add the Facebook Like button on any page simply by a Macro in Umbraco. This can be added in the Content section to give access to your designers to add it to individual pages and also to the Templates to add it to sections of your site.

 

XSLT Snippet:

   1: <xsl:variable name="niceHost">



   2: http://<xsl:value-of select="umbraco.library:RequestServerVariables('HTTP_HOST')" />



   3: </xsl:variable> 



   4:  



   5: <xsl:variable name="niceURL">



   6: <xsl:value-of select="umbraco.library:NiceUrl($currentPage/@id)" />



   7: </xsl:variable>



   8: <iframe src="http://www.facebook.com/plugins/like.php?href={$niceHost}{$niceURL}&amp;layout=standard&amp;show_faces=true&amp;width=450&amp;action=like&amp;font=arial&amp;colorscheme=light&amp;height=80" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="border:none; overflow:hidden; width:450px; height:80px;" allowTransparency="true">NoIframe</iframe> 


Jun 2, 2010

What Are The T-Mobile Network Settings for the iPhone?

The other day right after I installed a really cool SIP application on my wife's iPhone so she could make calls inside my house (Cell coverage sucks in my house!). Since I had setup my 3CX PBX with my hacked Magicjack SIP trunk, I didn't see why my wife should not be able to make calls from my house over wireless. The application I installed on my wife's phone was called Siphon.

Well after I installed that, for some reason my wife's network settings on her iPhone got wiped out. I am not sure if it was due to the Siphon app, but the fact remains that they were gone. Now, we have T-Mobile with a jail broken iPhone, so I had my wife call T-Mobile to verify her settings, and we got everything working again. I decided to share them with you in case you got yourself an iPhone and want to use it with T-mobile as well. Also, if this happens again, I want to have it written down somewhere. Here are the settings you will need:

Cellular Data
APN: wap.voicestream.com
Username: Blank
Password: Blank

MMS
APN: epc.tmobile.com
Username: Blank
Password: Blank
MMSC: http://mms.MSG.eng.t-mobile.com/mms/wapenc
MMS Proxy: 216.155.165.50:9201
MMS max Message Size: Blank
MMS UA Prof URL: Blank

Also make sure that you have Enable 3G set to off as T-Mobile doesn't allow non T-Mobile phones to access their 3G network. You can still access the Internet, but it is slow Edge only.

Are you using a jailbroken iPhone on T-Mobile? What about another network? How do you like it? Let us know in the comments!

Jun 1, 2010

At the lead of Big Brother 2.0 is Narus

What I mean by Big Brother 2.0 is the Internet and total electronic surveillance grid. Why is Narus at the top of it? That’s because they make mass surveillance systems and are the creators of NarusInsight which is a supercomputer system that was used by the NSA and other corporations. Their supercomputers can analyze data in real-time. That means it can pick up your emails, voip conversations, IM’s, ect… all in real-time as you’re sending them.

To try to better wrap your head around how massive their systems can be. They can analyze extract and put back together a conversation at a rate of 10 GB per second. They can also due to most Internet connections are limited they can monitor millions of connections at a time.

Here is a general video with a little more of the technical info of what the Narus Systems can do. Where they state that many governments and service providers use their systems for cyber protection. Much like AT&T did in 2006 but also used that system to give the government all the info they wanted on their users.

According to Narus’s Website their customers span one third of the world’s largest carriers. This also includes Mobile networks.

How can you get around these Narus systems? Well, the first thing you can do is try to get all your friends to switch to encrypted IM and Email simply by using PGP. There is an extremely easy plugin for Pidgin and Thunderbird. You can also switch to using encrypted services online. Like HTTPS Gmail or StartPage for internet search. This helps because Narus just throws aside encrypted data so it can keep up it's speed.


Souces:
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUS140435+10-Dec-2007+BW20071210?sp=true
http://www.narus.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narus
http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2006/05/70908

By: FreedomChicken



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