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

Oct 6, 2010

How To Install A DPM 2010 Agent on An Untrusted Domain Controller

The company that I work for is a Microsoft Gold Partner. Now I know that I write a lot about Linux, and other stuff, but because I work for a Microsoft gold Partner, that means that I am sometimes forced to drink the Microsoft Kool-Aid. Sometimes drinking the Kool-Aid is not that bad, and can sometimes save us money.

For instance, we were up for renewal for our backup Exec licenses. To renew for each little piddly agent in order to backup our entire infrastructure it was going to cost us over $100,000. It turns out that Microsoft’s Data Protection Manager is a part of our EA agreement, so it doesn’t cost us anything extra! BOOM!

The problem with Data Protection manager though is that it really was designed for single domain operations. When you start getting into untrusted domains, things start to get complicated. Now there is a procedure for manually installing the DPM agent on untrusted domain servers which works pretty good, but the documented process for installing, and configuring the agent on an untrusted domain controller doesn’t work so well. In fact the way you are SUPPOSED to install it is by running the following from the command line on the untrusted domain controller:

DPMAgentInstaller_x86.exe FQDN.DPMSERVER.COMData Protection Manager 2010

or

DPMAgentInstaller_x64.exe FQDN.DPMSERVER.COM

The above commands work fine on a member server in an untrusted domain, but do you think it works on a Domain Controller? BULL SHIT!

When trying to connect I was getting errors similar to this on the untrusted domain controllers:

A DPM agent failed to communicate with the DPM service on FQDN.DPMSERVER.COM because access is denied. Make sure that FQDN.DPMSERVER.COM has DCOM launch and access permissions for the computer running the DPM agent (Error code: 0x80070005, full name: FQDN.DPMSERVER.COM).

and

DCOM was unable to communicate with the computer FQDN.DPMSERVER.COM using any of the configured protocols.

I did figure out how to get it working. What you have to do is simply double click on the DPMAgentInstaller_x86.exe or DPMAgentInstaller_x64.exe for 32 bit DC’s or 64 bit DC’s respectively and let the install complete. Or right-click and run-as Administrator if you have UAC enabled. Once complete reboot. For some reason if you point DPM to the DPM server during install on a domain controller it screws something up.

After reboot, run the following command like you normally would:

SetDpmServer.exe -dpmServerName FQDN.DPMSERVER.COM -isNonDomainServer –userName DpmAgentUser

After that you can attach to the untrusted DC’s successfully, and you can actually back them up!

I’m still pretty new to Data Protection Manager, so if you have some tips and suggestions I am all ears! Hit me up in the comments!

Oct 5, 2010

Configuring Google Apps With Pidgin

I have a Gmail account like most of you, but I don’t like to use it for Google Talk. Why? Because I have a lot of people in my buddy list that like to hit me up for Diggs, Stumbles, and so forth. I don’t want to block them because sometimes I need them to Digg, and Stumble stuff for me too. I don’t want to do it all the time though, and if I stay signed into Google Talk using Pidgin, then I am constantly bugged throughout my day.

Instead, I would rather stay signed into Pidgin using my Google Apps account. That way my true friends and family that have my email address can still chat with me. The problem with Pidgin and Google Apps is that it doesn’t automagically jive using the Google Talk settings. To get it to work you need to set it up like any other XMPP/Jabber server. To set it up use the following settings (Make sure to change them to match your account settings!):

Basic Tab:

Protocol: XMPP
Username: USER
Domain: DOMAIN.COM
RESOURCE: Home
Password: YOURPASSWORD

Pidgin Google Apps 

Advanced Tab:

Check Require SSL/TLS
Check Force old (port 5223) SSL
Uncheck Allow Plaintext auth over unencrypted streams

Connection Port: 5223
Connection Server: talk.google.com
File transfer proxies: talk.google.com

pidgin google Apps 2

Save your settings and you should be good to go!

Oct 4, 2010

Best Geocaching App for Android

Some of you know that I recently made the switch from my Palm Pre to my new HTC Evo 4G phone. With that change, or course comes a whole new operating system, and a whole new set of applications. I of course still wanted some of the same types of apps for my new phone, or at least similar apps that provided the same functionality. One of those being an app for Geocaching!

If you go into the Android marketplace though and search for Geocaching, of Geocache, you get the official app from Groundspeak, the company that owns Geocaching.com. That app is $9.99. I am a cheap bastard though, and since the app on my Palm Pre was free, I wanted a free app for my Android. I went down the list of other apps, but all of them pretty much sucked. None of the free ones that showed up with the above search criteria had direct access to the Geocaching.com database. You had to go to the website on your phone, and download the loc files. LAME!

Well, I pretty much said screw it, and decided to take a break from Geocaching for a bit. That was until I decided to try and fix the housing on my wife’s iPhone. You see, it had a big crack down the back, so I went on Amazon and bought her a replacement back housing piece. I then followed some instructions online on how to remove the back housing, and replace it. It didn’t work out too well. I took Humpty Dumpty apart, but I couldn’t put him back together again.

iPhone-FailAnyway, after about an hour or so of trying to get the itty-bitty screws back in, in the right order and what-not, I finally told my wife that I would buy her a new HTC Evo 4G, and that it was a better phone anyway. She reluctantly agreed, but said that it HAD to have a working Geocaching application. So once again I began to search. This time was a little bit different.

I again went to the Android market, but this time I decided to look at the comments for the Groundspeak app. There in the comments I found my answer. Everybody was raving about a free alternative that worked better than the official app. The free application is called C:GEO, and it is bar-none the best  Geocaching app I have used on a smart phone. PERIOD!

From their page:

cgeo c:geo is simple yet powerful unofficial geocaching client for Android devices. In contrast with other similar applications, c:geo doesn't require web browser nor exports. You can just go geocaching with your phone and without any home preparation or worries. Of course, you can go without paying - it's free.

The thing I love about this app that I didn’t have on the free version on my Palm Pre was the ability to log visits directly from the app! My wife’s iPhone app could do it, but she had the official Groundspeak version for her iPhone. Now on her HTC Evo, she can have the same functionality, but it doesn’t cost us a dime!

Do you geocache? Do you have an Android? What app do you use? Let us know in the comments!



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