Sep 28, 2007

CDBurner XP Pro Version 4.0.015

I talked about CDBurner XP Pro a few months back mentioning how it was one of my favorite free CD burning programs out there. Whenever people ask me for a good program for burning CD's and music, I have always pointed them in the direction of CDBurner XP Pro!

Well I just found out that there is a new version available! Version 4.0.015!

CDBurner XP Pro has always been one of my favorite free alternatives to the big boys like Nero or Roxio. The new version seems to have a better interface than version 3, and it has more support for DVD's now. Here are some of it's key features (From their website):

*Create Data-CDs/DVDs

~burn any Data on CD-R/CD-RW/DVD+R/DVD-R/DVD+RW/DVD-RW, including double layer mediums

~burn mp3-CDs to store many audio files on one single disc

~create bootable discs

~verify written Data automatically after burning process

~use either the internal browser to add your files or the intuitive Drop-Box to drag and drop files directly from any Windows Explorer window

~save your compilations for creation of backups

~burn on-the-fly and with buffer-underrun protections

~import previous (ISO 9660) sessions and edit existing file structure on CD/DVD

~quick- and full-erase disc

~copy data discs (possible copy-protection is not bypassed)

~retrieve recorder and disc information

*Create Audio-CDs

~create Audio-CDs from mp3, wav, ogg, flac and wma files

~add single or multiple tracks from existing audio-CDs directly to your new compilation without ripping tracks before (add cda-files)

~play audio-files with integrated audio player

~gapless audio-CDs supported (disc-at-once-mode)

~import M3U or WPL playlists

*ISO features

~burn ISO files to CD

~create your own ISO files

~convert bin- and nrg-files to ISO

~save CDs/DVDs as ISO file to disc

*Other features

~simple cover printing feature for data- and audio-discs

~supports most IDE, USB, Firewire and SCSI drives

~integrated option to enable access to drive for restricted users

~multi-language interface

~online update

Unfortunately, CDBurner XP Pro doesn't have HD-DVD or Blue-Ray functionality yet, so if that is what you are looking for you may still have to look into some payware. If you are just looking for something to burn CD's or DVD's with other than the built-in Windows burner, than this will work perfectly!

Abandoning Solaris... For a Puppy

Once again I had Capstone last night. I tried replacing Solaris with one of the OpenSolaris distros called Belenix. Let's just say that that distro is not yet ready for prime time. The live CD works great, but the installer is just not quite there yet.

Since I couldn't get Solaris (or any like-based distro) to work with the hardware that I had available, my only course of action was to go with a different distro completely. There are a plethora of distros out there, and the only official rules of the project are that each computer must have a different distro.

For the Solaris machine, I chose to replace it with Puppy Linux. I know, I thought the same thing when I first happened upon that distro. What a weird friggin' name!

The good news is that Puppy automatically detected both the NIC and the wireless card on board! Hell yeah! That means for that machine I am pretty much done. I wouldn't have given up on Solaris so easily, but we have a deadline and we were running out of time.

We also were able to get the wireless router configured using DD-WRT, and if you have never used a Linksys router that has been flashed with DD-WRT you just haven't lived! The interface is outstanding, and with that OS running the router, there is so much more functionality you get out of it!

The last things we have left to do it to get network printing working on Damn Small Linux, and configuring Suse, Slackware and now Puppy for WEP. The printing thing is pretty difficult in Damn Small Linux. It doesn't look like that distro was really meant for network printing, but rather only locally attached printers. getting that to work seems like our final obstacle. Wish us luck! If you have any tips on adding a network printer using DSL, I am dying to hear about it! Please leave me a comment!

Sep 27, 2007

Symphony of Office Destruction

Symphony of Office Destruction

IBM/Lotus has fired a shot across the bow of MS at their flagship Office.

I give you Lotus Symphony!

Totally free and easy to download @ 136MB for the file.

"Symphony is based on and the Eclipse framework and is meant not only to give consumers and businesses an alternative to Microsoft Office, but also to promote the use of ODF (Open Document for XML), an XML-based standard for documents approved by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). "The end goal here is the proliferation of the open standard," Rhodin said.

Microsoft Office 2007, which has more than 90 percent market share, does not natively support ODF and instead uses the company's OOXML (Open XML) format, which failed to pass a recent ISO vote for standardization."

And for the record, IBM/Lotus has had 100,000 downloads of the product in its first week of availability.

I have downloaded it and gave it a mild test run this morning. It is quicker to open than other distros of Open Office and a lot easier on the eyes for sure. I'll be playing with it as much as I can over the next few weeks to see if it is a viable alternative to Orifice.

PS: This product is still in Beta but no bugs or crashes found on my system thusfar.

Originally Posted on Ask The Admin By The Slothman

Solaris: The Bane of My Existance!

I had my Capstone class again last night. Everything was supposed to go very smooth. Of course, in this business murphy's law is in full effect.

My last real problem is with the Solaris machine. Not only does it not detect the wireless card, it does not even detect the onboard NIC! With no network connectivity that means I have to do everything using sneakernet!

To top it off, Solaris doesn't come with some essential tools I need to install the drivers such as gcc, and make! I tried to download the binaries for gcc and make so I could install the ndis tools to use the Windows drivers, but they themselves wouldn't install! I have about had it with this OS! The funny thing is that when I installed it on a laptop before this project began to kind of test the waters, everything was fine. It is this particular hardware that doesn't mesh well with Solaris, so please, if you are a Solaris fanatic, please don't jump down my throat. I know it is a great OS, just not for this project.

Another little monkey wrench my teacher threw into the mix is a wireless router. This isn't an ordinary wireless router though, it is a Linksys router running DD-WRT. The problem is that there is something wrong with this router other than it has a non standard OS on it, and even my teacher couldn't get it to work correctly. We weren't able to pull a DHCP address from it so we couldn't connect to it to configure it. Since it isn't running the standard OS, the reset button on the back isn't working either. Fantastic!

So what are my options? Due to the limited amount of time I have to complete this project, I don't think I can keep going on like this with standard Solaris. I spend way to much time looking for drivers and binaries than I do actually working on other things on my network. My teacher said he will help us with the router, because he said there are a few tweaks he can do to allow us to at least connect to it to configure it, so i am not too worried about that. The big thing I am worried about it the Solaris box. I think it is time to switch distros again, kind of like I did with BSD. I pretty much have three options with this.

There are three main OpenSolaris based distros available for the x86 architecture. I have already mentioned Nexenta, which is an Ubuntu based Solaris distro. The problem with it is that it is still in beta. The other two are Belenix, and Schillix. Schillix looks like it will be okay except it doesn't have a gui. For you hard core Unix types, you are probably thinking, "yeah, so? ". Well, having to do everything 100% command line is probably the last thing I need right now. That leaves me with Belenix. I downloaded it last night, and it was pretty cool. It is a live CD with an option to install to the hard drive. It also comes with KDE or XFCE. I am thinking that this is probably my best bet. Another thing I liked about it is that it detected both the wireless and the onboard nic on my laptop. I am hoping that it will do the same for the desktop machine in my class.

Tonight I have capstone, so I will have my opportunity to test it out. this really is the moment fo truth. After tonight we only have two more classes to finish the project. Please keep your fingers and toes crossed, and feel free to hold your breath for me!

Sep 26, 2007

Google Pirating

I have found a pretty cool search engine while wasting time using my Stumble Upon toolbar. The difference between this search engine and others is that it's sole purpose in life is to search for pirated stuff!

You can search for torrents, software, roms, music, ringtones, and much more! This search engine is called Google Pirate. The secret behind it is that it uses Google as the back end, and it modifies your search into a Google custom search that only returns the information you want. Like when searching for Spiderman 3 in the torrents, you only get links to torrent sites that are currently hosting torrents for Spiderman 3! I'll tell you what, this could save some of you guys out there so much time!

Be careful though, because most of the stuff you will find on this site is illegal. Check your local laws before using this site.

Sep 25, 2007

Using Windows Drivers in Linux

Continuing with my capstone class series, I have some exciting developments. If you have read my previous posts, you know that I have been working on a project in school where I have to create an all Linux network using 5 different distros. Three of those machines need to be able to connect to wireless.

One of the problems I had was that Linux didn't detect the drivers for the wireless cards. Anyone who has dabbled in Linux knows that drivers not working is kind of a pain in the arse sometimes. There are literally forums after forums of people trying to get drivers to work in Linux where Linux doesn't detect them natively. I have never really experienced this too much since I use Ubuntu, and it pretty much detects everything.

supermanSo what did I do to get wireless to work? I used Windows drivers! How can that be El Di Pablo? Linux can't use Windows Drivers! You're friggin' loco!" I am sure you are saying. Actually, that is not entirely true. You can use Windows drivers in a pinch, and for some devices that is your only option because most vendors only support the name brands like Windows (what a shocker) and sometimes MAC.

Now you probably want to know how to get the windows drivers to work. I thought you might. In order to do this you need a Linux program called ndiswrapper. Most distros come with ndiswrapper already installed, but not always. If they don't, Google how to install it for your distro. It is actually pretty straight forward.

Once you have it installed do the following:

1) Download the Windows driver from the vendors website. Some vendors only put their drivers in self extracting executables. If this is the case, you may have to download it on Windows first and run the executable to extract the driver files. That is what I had to do anyway.

2) Once you get the extracted driver files, copy them to your Linux box and cd into the folder where the drivers are. You should have at least a .inf file and a .sys file.

3) Run ndiswrapper -i driver_name.inf to install the driver

4) Run ndiswrapper -l to check to see if the driver installed correctly.

5) Run ndiswrapper -m to create an alias for your device (i.e. wlan0 for wireless)

6) Run modprobe ndiswrapper to load the new driver module. If you don't get any errors, you are golden!

If you did get errors, check to make sure you used the correct driver. If you are sure you are correct, it's time to start Googling again. Welcome to Linux!

Sep 24, 2007

If The Matrix Ran on Windows

This is pretty funny. Have you ever thought about what the Matrix series would be like if The Matrix ran on Windows?

Sep 23, 2007

Set Your Tivos! Heroes is Back!

The wait is over! Tomorrow night is the premier of Heroes! I have been waiting all summer for this! Set your Tivos, DVRs, VCRs or whatever you have now! Check your local listings for time!

Sep 22, 2007

Bauer-Power Goes International

Bauer-Power has been getting visitors from all over the world since we have started. I finally took a fantastic idea from my man Karl over at Ask The Admin and put language translator buttons on the site so our friends from all over that don't speak/read English can enjoy the Bauer-Power experience like everyone else.

You can see the translation links in the upper right of the page! To translate Bauer-Power, find your countries flag (Or a flag of a country that speaks your language) and click on it! Google's translation service will take care of the rest. Enjoy!

Stop The Reboot Prompt After Windows Updates

We've all seen it, and we are all annoyed by it. We are particularly annoyed when we have 20 windows open and are multitasking like monkeys in a banana tree (that doesn't make any sense does it?). Anyway, that annoying prompt can be turned off with a little thing called Group policy. The cool thing about group policy is you can apply it to one machine using local a local policy, or many machines at once through an OU in active directory. Either way, it is setup the same.

From the Run line type gpedit.msc then click OK. Select local computer policy > Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update > Re-prompt for Restart with Scheduled Installations.

Check the box that says enabled, and set the time interval between prompts in minutes. If you want to not be bothered by the prompt at all, check the box that says disabled. I wouldn't recommend this though, because some patches and updates won't take effect until after a reboot, and if you're like me you don't reboot very often which could leave yourself vulnerable.

After you have made you settings to your liking, click Start > Run and type gpupdate /force for the changes to take effect. Or you can take the easy way out and reboot.

Sep 21, 2007 Files Charges Against Media Companies

Yes, you read that correctly! The Pirate Bay, one of the foremost pirate bit torrent sites on the net is fighting back against media companies that are trying to sabotage their operations and take them down!

The Pirate Bay alleges that, " labels are paying professional hackers, saboteurs and DDoSers to destroy [their] trackers." The Pirate bay reported their findings to the police.

The companies that the Pirate Bay are saying are involved are:
* Twentieth Century Fox, Sweden AB
* Emi Music Sweden AB
* Universal Music Group Sweden AB
* Universal Pictures Nordic AB
* Paramount Home Entertainment (Sweden) AB
* Atari Nordic AB
* Activision Nordic Filial Till Activision (Uk) Ltd
* Ubisoft Sweden AB
* Sony Bmg Music Entertainment (Sweden) AB
* Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Nordic AB

What do you think? Are the entertainment companies in the wrong for trying to protect their business, or is it the Pirate Bay that is in the wrong? Hit me up in the comments!

Ladies and Gentlemen: PC-BSD

Continuing with my capstone class series, I have been testing some alternates to the distros that were chosen for me. These alternates are basically different distros of the same operating systems. For instance, I mentioned last night that I had found an Ubuntu based Solaris distro called Nexenta. I played with it a bit last night, but I decided not to use it because it is still in its Alpha stages.

Some of the reason for looking into alternates is for hardware support, but also, because my partner in that project has almost no Linux experience at all. We all had a Linux class in school, but it was pretty much worthless. It taught us some of the basics, but really didn't go in depth enough for anyone that hasn't took the time to learn it on their own to really teach them anything useful.

The other alternate I wanted was for FreeBSD. I am the team lead on the project, so I decided to split up the responsibilities for the distros. I gave DSL and FreeBSD to my Linux impaired partner. After a little help from me, he got DSL installed. He was able to get FreeBSD installed, but couldn't make Gnome work. He kept trying different things, and I even pointed him to some documentation, but in the end FreeBSD proved to be too much for him. I could jump in and do it for him, but honestly, I don't want to end up doing the whole project on my own.

I also want to be able to finish this project, and because I am the team leader, I am ultimately responsible. I decided to look for a different FreeBSD based distribution that wouldn't be too much for him. I found it in PC-BSD. PC-BSD is actually made for the casual PC user, and the installation process literally only takes a few clicks of the mouse. After you're done you have a fully functional, easy to use BSD workstation with a KDE interface.

Like some other 'NIX operating systems out there, it has an easy to use software package install system. Like Redhat uses RPM's and Debian uses DEB's, PC-BSD uses PBI's. They have a whole store of software that you can download for your new PC-BSD computer at

So now everything is dependent on getting wireless to work on Slackware, Solaris and OpenSUSE. You could say that we are back at square one, but things are going very well.

Sep 20, 2007

An Interesting Loophole

In my research across the big WWW, I think I may have found an interesting loophole to the rules for my Linux project.

I found an Ubuntu based OpenSolaris operating system! Can you believe it? I haven't had a chance to check it out yet, but I think it may do the trick for the wireless issue I have to deal with.

What is this little ace-in-the-hole called? It is called Nexenta! I think Superman is going to triumph over Lex Luthor after all!

Something Cool about Spybot 1.5

I'll keep this quick, but my professor in school for my security class (who happens to be the same professor for my Capstone class) pointed out something interesting with the new version of Spybot Search and destroy (Version 1.5).

After you download and install all of the updates, and run immunize, check your hosts file. If you don't know where that is, in Windows it is located in C:\windows\system32\drivers\etc. You can open it with notepad or your favorite text editor.

You will notice the Spybot inserts a whole myriad of entries to your hosts file that point to For those that don't know is your loopback address, for the the layman, it is your own computer. That means that if you try to go to one of these bad sites, your computer will first check your hosts file for name to address resolution, see that the address is and you will get a nice "Page cannot be displayed" box, which means, since you cannot go to the blocked page, you cannot get any viruses, trojans, rootkits etc from those sites!

What a simple and ingenious way of doing things! Good work Spybot!

OpenSUSE...What a Beautiful Thing!

As you all know from my posts here, here, here and here, I am working on my final networking project in school. If you haven't read those posts, I have to build an all Linux network, and each machine has to have a different disro of Linux.

Through a nasty plot twist, I had to trade my perfectly designed network for one that I was unfamiliar with. On my network, I have OpenSUSE, Slackware, Solaris, FreeBSD, and DSL.

Last night was install night, and I'll tell you this. OpenSUSE was a dream come true in this uncertain time. After the install I had DNS and DHCP up and running in about 10 minutes, if that! Configuration was a snap! I would even venture to say that DNS and DHCP setup on OpenSUSE is 1000 times easier and more intuitive than Windows!

To configure it, click on the computer menu (Same as Start for Windows) go to contol center. Scroll to the bottom and click on Yast Admin Tool. Click on Network Services and there you have all of your server configuration tools. You have DNS, DHCP, Samba and others. I don't think things could get and easier!

Now the only thing I have to do on my new OpenSUSE server is to configure it for wireless. The problem is that when I installed OpenSUSE it didn't detect the wireless card. The card that is in the computer is a Linksys wmp54g version 4.1. After looking at some posts online I think I have to make the driver using NDISWRAPPER and the Windows drivers. The same goes for my Slackware machine and my Solaris machine too, but that will be a different post.

If you have any tips, or suggestions about getting a
Linksys wmp54g version 4.1 card working in Solaris, I am all ears, because I can't find a damn thing online about it. Please hit me up in the comments if you can help me out with that!

Sep 19, 2007

Netscape now Propeller

If you were a reader of the once Digg-like version of, you will be interested to know that it is now called

This comes after many rumors that AOL was going to drop the web 2.0 format of to pursue something else. Now if you browse to you will get a news site like or the Yahoo home page.

If you have been looking for an alternative to Digg, I used to recommend to people, but now, I guess I should now be saying , "Check out!"

Linux Project On the Up and Up

Since we got hit by the bus on Monday night with the surprise twist of events, I have been diligently downloading Linux iso's and reading up on distro documentation for the Linux/Unix distros for my School Linux Project.

So far, I have installed all five of the distro's I need to use for the project. Once again, those distros are: OpenSUSE, FreeBSD, Solaris, DSL and Slackware. Each one seems pretty easy to configure, so I don't anticipate any initial problems with the base network. I have not had the chance to test wireless functionality, so I am still worried about that part, but things are starting to look up.

I think everything is going to be okay in the end. I feel bad for the other team because though the linux distros I chose are pretty straight forward, they do not understand Linux, and in the end this project will be very difficult for them. Once again, I will keep you posted on the progress :-)

Sep 18, 2007

The Saga Continues

Have you ever watched a really good movie where the plot thickens, and thickens and then suddenly there is a plot twist and the story shifts in a completely dramatic way? That is exactly what is happening for my final project in school.

I mentioned in a previous post that an inside source told me that the teacher wanted me to use Gentoo because it was a weak spot for me. Upon hearing this news I spent all of last weekend playing with Gentoo trying to get it to work. When I finally got it to work, I decided to add it to my list of distros for the project anyway.

Well last night when we had class, my partner and I drew up our plans for our Linux network. For our distros we chose: Ubuntu, Fedora, Gentoo, Vector, and Mepis. Ubuntu was going to be our only server.

The other team, who can barely even spell Linux, let alone know how to install it and configure it (No offense guys) picked 5 random distros on a whim. Two of them aren't even Linux, they are Unix. They chose: FreeBSD, Solaris, Slackware, DSL, and OpenSuse. They were also given the task of setting up a network printer and also configuring three of their machines for Wireless. For the wireless machines they chose OpenSuse, Solaris and Slackware. (In all fairness, these guys are primarily Windows guys. In Windows, they are admin gods!)

So what's the big deal? After we completed planning of our networks on paper, our teacher reviewed them then handed me the other team's paper work, then handing the other team my paper work and said, "Here's your networks!"

With the exception of Slackware, and DSL, I have never touched these distros and have no idea how they work, or if they even support the stuff I need them to do without some serious fenagling. It looks like I have my work cut out for me. I'll try to keep you updated as things progress.

Sep 17, 2007

Gentoo? Use Version 2006.1

I knew if I kept at it I would find a solution! I was about ready to pull my hair out until about 10 minutes ago. I have been trying all weekend to get Gentoo to install using the newest 2007.0 install CD's. I tried first using the GUI installer from the Live CD and failed. I tried the command line installer on the live CD and failed. I tried doing the quick stage three install from the command line using the quick install guide from the gentoo website and failed.

I finally stumbled onto a forum saying that the live cd installer of Gentoo for 2007.0 didn't work and was riddled with bugs. I read further and a number of people said they had success with version 2006.1. I decided that I didn't have anything else to lose, so I downloaded the 2006.1 live cd.

After about an hour, I am now updating my blog using my newly installed Gentoo machine! So if anyone asks, DON'T USE VERSION 2007.0 IF YOU CAN HELP IT! USE 2006.1 UNTIL THE NEXT VERSION COMES OUT!

Sep 16, 2007

Viewing the Internet via Command Line

This is kind of stupid, and pointless in this day and age, but it's kind of interesting none the less. As you know from my last post I am fighting with Gentoo, and trying to overcome my kryptonite. Anyhoo, during the install process, you must go out to the internet to download some stuff. The funny thing is though, you install Gentoo from command line.

In Gentoo, to view a website you must use links like this:


In Ubuntu, links isn't installed by default, but you can fix that using apt-get:

>sudo apt-get install links

Then you can check out Bauer-Power, and not even need a gui to do it!

links command line internet browser

Sep 15, 2007

So you want me to use Gentoo huh?

Every superhero has their weakness. Usually it is something they keep secret, but eventually their enemy's find out what that weakness is and exploit it. My weakness in the Linux world happens to be Gentoo Linux. I have never successfully been able to install Gentoo onto any computer. When I was first into Linux, my former boss who is a big Gentoo nerd (Sorry Craig) handed me an old laptop and told me to install Gentoo on it. To make a long story short, after three days of downloading binaries, and emerging packages I had enough and discovered Ubuntu. I had pretty much given up on Gentoo.

I tried again a few other times when Gentoo came out with the graphical installer from the live CD, but that didn't make things easier and all my install attempts had failed. I was pretty much in the mindset at that point that Gentoo was impossible to install and I wasn't sure how exactly it was that people ever successfully got it to install in the first place. Gentoo is officially, my Kryptonite!

We just finished our second project in my final class before I get my associates degree at school. In this class we have to build three networks. The first network was a Novell network using Windows NT workstations and Windows 98. The second was a Windows 2000 domain, which we then had to turn around and upgrade to 2003. everything so far has been pretty easy.

The final project has to be an all Linux network. We have five workstations for each team, and there are two teams. We have to have a different Linux distro for each computer. 10 Different distros total. I had it all planned out which distros I was going to use, and I'll tell you this. Gentoo wasn't one of them.

Well, my professor heard about how I felt towards Gentoo, and he knows that is my weakness. And just like Lex Luthor, he is using my Gentoo weakness against me. Apparently he feels that I haven't been challenged enough thus far, so he is going to require at least one Gentoo machine on my network. Arrrrggghh!

I'm not one to back down from a challenge though. Before this project begins on Monday, I will be spending my weekend working with Gentoo, to learn it and to make sure I can get it working for this project. So far I am making progress. For instance, I have pretty much determined that the big point of failure is using the stage three sources on the CD. They are pretty much worthless. Once I decided to use the stage three tarballs from one of the repositories on the internet, things began to work correctly. Also, I have found that if I use the default USE flags, the installer won't fail. I still have a little ways to go, but things are looking up.

IN YOUR FACE ARMY! I won't let you beat me!

I will try to keep everyone updated on the progress. Stay tuned!

By the way, if anyone has any Gentoo tips to make the Gentoo install more smooth and less time consuming, hit me up in the comments. I could sure use the help.

Sep 13, 2007

Changing Local Admin Passwords On Many Workstations

I had a bit of a scare the other day. I get a call from a user in the field. She is traveling with her laptop and she was calling from her hotel. she was complaining that she couldn't log into her laptop using her normal login credentials, and that the only way she could login was using the local administrators account.

"Local Admin what?!?!" I exclaimed then started hyperventilating. I asked her how she came across the local administrator password, and she told me that one of the techs at the company that is no longer with us gave it to her a long time ago. I asked her to spell out the password for me, and low and behold it was the corporate standard.

I ran to my bosses office and reported the compromise, and recommended changing the local passwords. He agreed and called a meeting with me, our head desktop technician and one of the senior systems administrators to come up with a plan of attack. I told them that I can easily change these passwords using a script and pspasswd.exe that comes with Sysinternals PSTools. I told them that I can export a list of all of the workstations on the network from Active directory, and put them in a text file. pspasswd will read directly from the list in the text file and change the password of the specified account on each computer in the list. I showed each of the guys in the meeting how it works, and they agreed that my script would be the best way to go with this.

Here is an example of the syntax used in my script. Keep in mind that this script must be ran from within the directory containing the pspasswd.exe program or else you have to modify the script to change into it's directory. Of course, if you know batch scripting well, you can add all sorts of stuff to the script, but the basic run command looks like this:

>set /p filename="Please enter name of computer list (ie: computers): "
>pspasswd @%filename%.txt -u -p password administrator newpassword >> %filename%-results.txt

You'll notice that I added an output to a text file so I could create a log of which workstations the password was changed on, and which ones it wasn't. That is a good idea so you can keep whittling away at it until the change has been completed on all workstations. Also, you'll notice that I added the -u and -p switches. You don't need that if you are already running the script from an account that has permissions to change local passwords. There are many other little changes you can do as well. I used the set command because I had different lists for different offices. You could just put the computer names in one list and not use the set command.

Let me know if you have used this or a similar product, and perhaps some other scripting ideas for this.

Sep 12, 2007

Autopatcher is Down! I Repeat! Autopatcher is Down!

We are working on a project in my Capstone class at school. In this project we have to create a Windows 2000 Active Directory Network. It's pretty straight forward.

Well, when doing the updates I decided I would use Autopatcher to make patching all of the hosts a cinch. Well I didn't take into account one thing.... Micro$oft is friggin' EVIL!

Microshaft sent the Autopatcher team a cease and desist notice via email telling them to take down the download page on the August 29th. That includes all mirrors and FTP sites as well.

The good news is that the team said they would start working on a web-based version of Autopatcher, so we should see that in the not-so-distant future if everything works out well.

In the meantime, Windiz Updates is still available as an alternative to Microsoft Update.

Free Remote Support Software

At my first I.T. gig, we had users in the field all of the time. remote sales folks, and also remote service agents which required them to travel an awful lot. They worked out of their homes, airports, Starbucks, and hotels. Though they weren't on our network, they still needed support.

Among other tools for remote support, we would use WebEx which costs a lot of dough, and in my opinions really, really sucks! The delay on it is ridiculous, and the picture quality is second only to the drawings of my 2 year old daughter. (Okay, maybe not that bad, but you get my point).

Anyhoo, my buddy at work showed me a cool website that offers a free, open source remote support tool that uses VNC over SSH. The SSH server is hosted by, but the software also gives you an option to use your own SSH server if you have one.

Another cool feature is that for each session, the person that needs support generates a random password and gives it to the person they want to share their PC with, so the person sharing retains control of their own PC, and you don't get unauthorized access attempts.

If you own your own consulting business, or are looking for something for remote support for your company, they also offer a customized plan for only $10 a month where they will give you a dedicated server, and a customized application:

For Medium to large businesses, you can contact them about other features.

If you are just a small one man band, or you just need to help your 'Grammy' remove some spyware from her computer from across the United States, the free version will work very well for you.

The one problem I have with it though, is that since it is VNC, the picture quality still isn't as good as say, remote desktop or remote assistance, but since it's free, you can hardly complain about that.


I'm sorry I haven't written or posted anything in a few days. I have had a few fires to put out in my real job and had a midterm to study for in my network security class in school. I will try to write something later on today that will be of interest to all of you Bauer-Power loyalists out there. Please bear with me :-)

-El Di Pablo

Sep 10, 2007

Free Network Management Software!

So you've just finished rolling out 500 new desktops using disk imaging, and you're keeping them updated using WSUS. How are you going to monitor the overall status and health of your network?

There is a wealth of excellent network monitoring software available, both commercial and open source. One problem with many of them is that they are really geared towards the very large network. Monitoring 1000 servers, 300 switches, 100 routers and 15 firewalls on 3 continents is very different from monitoring 10 servers, 2 switches, 1 router and 1 firewall in a single office. Commercial monitoring software is probably going to be prohibitively expensive for a small network.

JFFNMS (Just For Fun Network Management System) is an excellent open source network monitoring package you can run on any spare Windows or Linux server. Don't let the name fool you, it is a full-featured piece of software which includes autodiscovery, fully configurable alerts, performance graphing, reporting and network mapping.

Installation and configuration is pretty typical for an open source project (meaning a bit more complex than a typical Windows installer package) but I'm sure any experienced administrator can handle it. You will also need to install and configure SNMP on any machine you want to monitor. (Full disclosure and shameless plug: I wrote the new version of the Windows installation instructions.)

After installation, the rest of the configuration is done from a remote browser interface. You add your individual machines and interfaces to the monitoring system and set what parameter changes you want to be notified about. You can monitor pretty much any part of the system that can be queried by SNMP, such as free disk space, network utilization, processor usage, reachability, or if a specific application is running. You can then be alerted when a specific threshold is met or event occurs. You can create pretty graphs to better show trends and create reports of system uptime and availability.

Even in a small network a good NMS allows the administrator to keep on top of the network and be alerted to any potential problems before they result in downtime. It's much better to receive an email telling you the mail server is running out of disk space than to start getting angry calls from users complaining the mail server is down.

Try a working demo.

Download JFFNMS.

Originally Posted on Ask The Admin By

Sep 9, 2007

Updating Multiple Ubuntu Systems... From CD or DVD!

If you have ever installed a fresh new copy of Ubuntu, you have gone through a ton of updates. It is almost as bad as Windows in that respect. If you have to update numerous computers at once, it can also suck up all of your bandwidth. There is another way though.

What if I told you that you could back up all of your updates from one computer to CD or DVD (Your choice) and then update all of your other Ubuntu machines at once without having to go out ot the repositories and suck up your bandwidth? You would probably say, "El Di Pablo, you're crazy bro!" That may be true, but it can be done.

With a little application called APTonCD, you can update one computer, then backup all of those many updates you donloaded to a CD or DVD, then turn around and update all of the rest of your Ubuntu machines with the CD or DVD. Those machines don't even need to be connected to the internet!

To install it, just use apt-get:

sudo apt-get install aptoncd

Install it on all of your workstations.

Backing up to CD is really easy, since APTonCD is GUI based. To open it click on System > Administration > APTonCD. To create a CD or DVD click on the Create tab, and follow the prompts. After creating the CD or DVD, take it to the machine you want to update, open APTonCD and click the restore tab. It just doesn't get any easier than that!

Sep 7, 2007

NSaneProductions is now NSaneDown!

I wrote some time back about some of my favorite pirate sites on the internet. One of them was NSane Productions. Well, that has all changed now. Apparently the guy who started that site (His handle is Nsane) decided he had had enough with the project and wanted out.

The good news is that he had some partners that were helping out on the project and they decided to keep the project alive, although they have changed the name. They are now called NSANE DOWN. No doubt they got the inspiration for the name from one of the most popular pirate sites on the internet

The layout for NSANE DOWN is slightly different, but is essentially the same as it was before, so fear not young software pirates! If you haven't already, please check them out.

Are you one of the...Internet People?

I found this music video on YouTube which is really hilarious. It gets really scary if you start recognizing all the people, or events this video talks about. Enjoy!

Sep 5, 2007

Creating Bootlegs Like the Pros

Let's just say that you read my post a few months back on becoming a DVD pirate. That article of course was meant for educational purposes only, or at least to teach you how to back up your sister's wedding video, not necessarily for making legally questionable copies of DVD's. Of course, this article has the same intention. MAKING COPIES OF DVD's IS ILLEGAL!

Let's go on to say that you like making the copies, but you miss the commercial DVD's you buy because of the pretty pictures on the DVD's, or you like the art on the DVD case, or maybe you just don't want to make it so damned obvious that you have been pirating DVD's.

I found a website a few years ago that hosts the worlds largest selection of DVD covers for both the DVD media and, if you have bought them, DVD cases. The website is With their labels, you can make your bootleg's look almost identical to the real deal! You will need to purchase some DVD Labels of course. If you want to make the DVD cases, you will need both the cases and the case inserts. You will also need to have software for printing these labels. I personally liked Media Face 4 software for this, but it costs money. If you want to stay on the cheaper end, offers their own, free label software called Cover XP. Cover XP isn't quite as good as Media face, but it works.

Now you can stop writing on your DVD's with a sharpie, and start really making the quality bootlegs you have always wanted to make!

Sep 4, 2007

Spybot 1.5.1 Released!

When people ask me what they need for basic security on their home computers, I usually tell them they need three things:

1) A good, updated antivirus program
2) A good personal firewall program
3) An anti-spyware program

Most people are good on number one or two, because that is what the media beats down your throat, but most people don't think of spyware as a problem. People just go through life, closing pop-ups, and ignoring the extra tool bars they find in Internet Explorer and wonder why their computers are so slow.

Wikipedia defines spyware as: "... computer software that is installed surreptitiously on a personal computer to intercept or take partial control over the user's interaction with the computer, without the user's informed consent."

Well, doesn't that sound like a cozy idea? I didn't think so. I blogged about different anti-spyware programs before. In that post I mentioned Spybot Search and Destroy as one of my favorite FREE anti-spyware utilities. Why am I writing about it again then? Because the newest version just came out! This is their first release (I believe, I may be wrong) in about 2 or 3 years! Very exciting stuff!

If you haven't installed an anti-spyware solution yet, or you need a backup solution, or if you already use version 1.4 of Spybot and need an upgrade, the time is right for you to download the latest version of Spybot Search and Destroy (Now version 1.5.1!)

Sep 3, 2007

Mr. T Puts the "T" in "I.T."

This is pretty stupid...and yet still funny.

Sep 2, 2007

Batman vs Alien vs Predator

I found this in my surfing around the internet. It is one of the best movie shorts I have ever seen. Enjoy! Oh... And happy labor day!

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | stopping spam