Aug 30, 2008


Hello ladies and gents! I just flew back in from Atlanta Georgia last night (and boy are my arms tired!)

I was in Atlanta setting up my first Avaya Distributed Office i40 system for my company's branch office out there. I will be the first to admit that prior to going out there I didn't know too much about Avaya systems at all. For that we hired an Avaya consulting group to do the initial configuration, and to assist me with the install.

Anyhoo, the consulting group we hired didn't coordinate things that well, and the onsite Avaya tech they sent me wasn't an Avaya tech at all, just a general tech. So I therefore had to figure a lot of stuff out.

One of the things that was driving me nuts, that I had to do some Googling on was after a few of the VoIP phones booted up and got their configuration info from DHCP, others would boot up and say:


I had plenty of addresses in the pool available, and all the Windows workstations were pulling addresses just fine.

It turned out that this wasn't an uncommon problem for Avaya phones running on a Windows network using Windows DHCP. To fix it I had to go into DHCP management on the server, click on the server name, then right click and go to Properties > Advanced Tab. In advanced there is an option for conflict detection attempts. By default it is set to zero. Set it to two or three. This way the server will check to see if an address has been issued already before handing it out again to some other device.


Once I set that, the rest of the phones booted up fine, and we were right as rain!

Are you an Avaya admin or guru? Care to share some more tips in the comments?

Aug 26, 2008

5 Simple Tips to Protect Your Computers from Hackers

Hacking attacks are a constant worry and perennial headache for any network administrator. More interestingly and ironically, the best defense against them comes from hackers themselves. But these hackers are of a different kind and breed – they are ‘ethical hackers’.

While companies and government organizations all across the world are spending huge sums on hiring professional network security experts or ethical computer hackers, you can make your computer secure by being a little more careful and by keeping your system equipped with next generation anti-hacking solutions. Let’s see how…

  1. Always use the latest version of anti-virus software applications. With good anti-virus software, whenever a hacker tries to access your machine you would be warned about it so that you can take necessary steps before any damage is done.
  2. Always keep the firewalls in active mode as it will prevent unauthorized entry by the hackers.
  3. Keep checking the programs running on your system on a regular basis. In case, you come across some program that you might not have installed or which does not form part of standard operating system, then be alert and cross check it as it might be some sort of spam.
  4. To minimize risk against virus attacks and hackers, keep your operating system up to date as it allows the machine to be aware of the latest discovered security holes. If you don’t do that, you are just giving open invitation to the hackers who just evolve from every failed or ‘taken care of’ hacking attack.
  5. Never ignore the patches when they arrive for installation. Usually what happens is that a hacker makes a way to enter your computer through some common programs. By installing security fixes and patches you make your computer safe from hackers as they are developed with the sole motive to fix security related issues.

Well, these tips are just the primary precautions to keep your system safe from the hands of hackers. But it’s better to takethe help of experts to take care of security measures. Many companies nowadays employ ethical hackers with knowledge of network security, cracking and hacking to counter the menace of criminal hacking.

Let me explain a little more. Hackers are broadly categorized into three groups:

  • Black-hat hacker: These are the malicious or criminal hackers that break into networks or computers, or create computer viruses.
  • Grey-hat hacker: These are skilled hackers who have mixed characteristics of white and black-hat hackers. They usually hack for fun or challenge but in the process can do some pretty damaging things.
  • White-hat hacker: These are ethical hackers whose task is to provide security and protection to IT systems. Such people are employed by companies to enhance their IT security and keep their network systems free of hackers and spammers.

Ethical hacking is thus fast becoming a chosen career option for young IT pros given the fact that the IT security market worldwide is growing by leaps and bounds. There are various courses available for computer hacking and network security training. Professional cracking tutorials and other courses prepare IT security pros for attractive careers in big organizations.

By Mandira Kumar

Mandira Kumar is working as a network security consultant in a reputed IT firm in India. She is also an amateur writer who has contributed several insightful articles on the importance of cracking tutorial, ethical computer hacking training or network security training.

Article Source: Article Rich

Aug 25, 2008

CD's are the new 1.44MB floppy

Sorry I haven't been writing too much lately, I have just been bogged down with stuff at work, and getting ready for my upcoming trip to Atlanta Georgia to set up a new IP phone system. (Can you say 90% humidity? YUCK!)

Anyway, while on hold with one of my vendors I decided to flip around Stumbleupon a little bit when I found this comic from about how CD ROMs are obsolete now, and got a kick out of it. I thought you might like it as well, so without further ado, here is the comic from Real Life.

CD is obsolete
Click To Enlarge

How do you feel about the debate? Do you still burn CD's or do you pretty much stick to thumb drives and DVD's? I for one still find myself using CD's every once in a while for burning Linux ISO's and such. If you still use CD's, how are you using them? Hit me up in the comments.

Aug 24, 2008

Spyware & Adware: The War against it

Spyware and Adware are not only an ever-increasing nuisance for computer users everywhere, but also a booming industry.

According to Webroot Software, Inc., the distribution of online advertisements through spyware and adware has become a whopping $2 billion industry.

The aggressive advertising and spying tactics demonstrated by some of these programs, require an equally aggressive response from a seasoned eradicator. Sunbelt Software is such a company. A leader in Anti-Spyware, Anti-Spam, Network Security and System Management tools, they gave consistently remained on the cutting-edge of anti-spyware programming since 1994.

So you might be asking:

Why do I feel as if somebody watching me?

According to the National Cyber Security Alliance, spyware infects more than 90% of all PCs today. These unobtrusive, malicious programs are designed to silently bypass firewalls and anti-virus software without the users knowledge.

Once embedded in a computer, it can wreak havoc on the systems performance while gathering your personal information. Fortunately, unlike viruses and worms, spyware programs do not usually self-replicate.

Where Does It Come From?

Typically, spyware originates in three ways. The first and most common way is when the user installs it. In this scenario, spyware is embedded, attached, or bundled with a freeware or shareware program without the users knowledge. The user downloads the program to their computer.

Once downloaded, the spyware program goes to work collecting data for the spyware authors personal use or to sell to a third-party. Beware of many P2P file-sharing programs. They are notorious for downloads that posses spyware programs.

The user of a downloadable program should pay extra attention to the accompanying licensing agreement. Often the software publisher will warn the user that a spyware program will be installed along with the requested program.

Unfortunately, we do not always take the time to read the fine print.

Some agreements may provide special opt-out boxes that the user can click to stop the spyware from being included in the download. Be sure to review the document before signing off on the download.

Another way that spyware can access your computer is by tricking you into manipulating the security features designed to prevent any unwanted installations. The Internet Explorer Web browser was designed not to allow websites to start any unwanted downloads. That is why the user has to initiate a download by clicking on a link. These links can prove deceptive.

For example: a pop-up modeled after a standard Windows dialog box, may appear on your screen. The message may ask you if you would like to optimize your Internet access. It provides yes or no answer buttons, but, no matter which button you push, a download containing the spyware program will commence. Newer versions of Internet Explorer are now making this spyware pathway a little more difficult.

Finally, some spyware applications infect a system by attacking security holes in the Web browser or other software. When the user navigates a webpage controlled by a spyware author, the page contains code designed to attack the browser, and force the installation of the spyware program.

What Can Spyware Programs Do?

Spyware programs can accomplish a multitude of malicious tasks. Some of their deeds are simply annoying for the user; others can become downright aggressive in nature.

Spyware can:

  • Monitor your keystrokes for reporting purposes.
  • Scan files located on your hard drive.
  • Snoop through applications on our desktop.
  • Install other spyware programs into your computer.
  • Read your cookies.
  • Steal credit card numbers, passwords, and other personal information.
  • Change the default settings on your home page web browser.
  • Mutate into a second generation of spyware thus making it more difficult to eradicate.
  • Cause your computer to run slower.
  • Deliver annoying pop up advertisements.
  • Add advertising links to web pages for which the author does not get paid. Instead, payment is directed to the spyware programmer that changed the original affiliates settings.
  • Provide the user with no uninstall option and places itself in unexpected or hidden places within your computer making it difficult to remove.

Examples of Spyware

Here are a few examples of commonly seen spyware programs:

(Please note that while researchers will often give names to spyware programs, they may not match the names the spyware-writers use.)

CoolWebSearch, a group of programs, that install through holes found in Internet Explorer. These programs direct traffic to advertisements on Web sites including coolwebsearch This spyware nuisance displays pop-up ads, rewrites search engine results, and alters the computer host file to direct the Domain Name System (DNS) to lookup preselected sites.

Internet Optimizer (a/k/a DyFuCa), likes to redirect Internet Explorer error pages to advertisements. When the user follows the broken link or enters an erroneous URL, a page of advertisements pop up.

180 Solutions reports extensive information to advertisers about the Web sites which you visit. It also alters HTTP requests for affiliate advertisements linked from a Web site. Therefore the 180 Solutions Company makes an unearned profit off of the click through advertisements theyve altered.

HuntBar (a/k/a WinTools) or Adware.Websearch, is distributed by Traffic Syndicate and is installed by ActiveX drive-by downloading at affiliate websites or by advertisements displayed by other spyware programs. Its a prime example of how spyware can install more spyware. These programs will add toolbars to Internet Explorer, track Web browsing behavior, and display advertisements.

How Can I Prevent or Combat Spyware?

There are a couple things you can do to prevent spyware from infecting your computer system. First, invest in a reliable commercial anti-spyware program. There are several currently on the market including stand alone software packages such as Lavasofts Ad-Aware or Windows Antispyware. Other options provide the anti-spyware software as part of an anti-virus package.

This type of option is offered by companies such as Sophos, Symantec, and McAfee. Anti-spyware programs can combat spyware by providing real-time protection, scanning, and removal of any found spyware software. As with most programs, update your anti virus software frequently.

As discussed, the Internet Explorer (IE) is often a contributor to the spyware problem because spyware programs like to attach themselves to its functionality.

Because of this, many users have switched to non-IE browsers. However, if you prefer to stick with Internet Explorer, be sure to update the security patches regularly, and only download programs from reputable sources. This will help reduce your chances of a spyware infiltration.

And, When All Else Fails?

Noticed I said when and not if? As spyware is growing in destruction and it covers easily more than 90% of the computers (thats you and me, 9 in 10!), the only solution you may have is backing up your data, and performing a complete reinstall of the operating system!

By Neil Parnham
Article Source: Article Street

Aug 23, 2008

Can you help me see through one window to a document below?

I can’t give you X-Ray vision.

But I can help you to see through one window to another.

No we are not talking about real life glass windows (that would be stupid wouldn’t it?) - We ARE talking about a Microsoft Window’s, Window.

(Ok now I am confusing myself!)

If you are like us then you are constantly checking documents and switching between windows.

You need to see your data and write your articles in separate windows, Now wouldn’t it be peachy keen if you could see through your browser’s window - even just a little? That way I could have an Word document or an Excel sheet open behind an editor window and just keep on type, type, typing away.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if it was free and worked on most Windows machines? Well it is and it does! Glass2k is free and works on Windows 2000, XP and Vista!

Check it out: Glass2k from Chime Software. The project is dead but the software works and does just what I need it to.It allows me to set transparency for any window and the task bar. Run it and right click on your windows Title bar and choose your transparency in increments of 10%.

From their website:

Q) How to use Glass2k ?
A) Once the program is running and the icon is shown in the system-tray (near the clock), you can press the following key comibations:

  • Control + Shift + 9 : Least transparency
  • Control + Shift + 8 : A little more transparency
  • Control + Shift + . : …
  • Control + Shift + . : …
  • Control + Shift + 2 : Very high transparency
  • Control + Shift + 1 : Maximum transparency
  • Control + Shift + 0 : No transparency / Solid

You can also right-click on any window and select the transparency values from the Glass2k Transparency-popup menu.

Q) When will the final version be ready ?
A) We are doing our best to release it by the end of December 2001. :)

Cool app and at a price we like - Free. Any one else have another way to make stuff transparent in Windows? [Chime Software]

Originally posted on Ask The Admin By Karl Gechlik

Aug 21, 2008

Welcome To The World of Wifecraft!

I seriously almost wet my pants laughing so hard at this! I am not much of a gamer, but being in the I.T. field I know a lot of them. In fact, my buddy and Bauer-Power contributor Sundance is a huge gamer, so he can probably appreciate this as much as anyone.

Basically the long and short of this video from FarkTV, is that these husbands are completely addicted to World of Warcraft, so their wives have them hypnotized into thinking that they are living in the World of Warcraft and that their daily activities are all a part of the game. Get ready to live...

Are you a WOW gamer? Do you neglect your wife and family a little too often? Did this video apply to you? Let me know in the comments!

How-To Get Thunderbird to Work with Exchange

I hate Microsoft, and prefer free software alternatives whenever possible. One of the best email clients out there that is a million times better than Outlook is Mozilla Thunderbird. One of the draw backs of Thunderbird though is getting it to work properly with Microsoft Exchange. This feat isn't impossible, and this post will hopefully help you get it accomplished with only a little finageling.

Lets start off with me saying this is not always as simple as it may seem. There are quite a few options to get this to work and in some cases you may need local administrator rights to your computer to get this to work. In this Tutorial I will assume that you know how to add an account and install plugins in Thunderbird. I will separate this into a few categories, Finding your Mail Server, Receiving mail and Sending mail.

Finding your Mail Server
To find your mail server in Outlook 2003 or 2007 go into your Control Panel and open the "Mail" settings and click on Email Accounts. Find yours and double click on it. the info after the label Microsoft Exchange Server: is what your mail server's name is. Or you can ask your IT guys, but do it nicely.

Receiving Mail
Option 1: The easiest way is to get this to work is to use IMAP. Simply just create an email account and for the incoming server make sure to use the IMAP option and type the name of your mail server.

Option 2: If that does not work you can try creating an account with POP3. After setting up a POP3 account you may want to take a look in the Account Settings area under the Server Settings to double check that you are leaving a copy on the server at least until you can verify that all aspects of Thunderbird are working fine.

If neither of those options work right away you may want to find out if the server is using Secure Authentication or a Secure Connection. If it is then make sure those options are selected in the Server Settings area. Also to help it not look so much like your using a different mail program than everyone else or if you're just used to it. You may want to change the Options under the Composition & Addressing to "Start my reply above the quote" and "place my signature below my reply"

Option 3: If you are still unable to receive mail the last option you have is to get mail from OWA (Outlook Web Access). That is if you have access to OWA. If you do then what you want to do is download a few plugins from the Thunderbird Webmail Extension site. Make sure to download the and files. Now this will only work if your OWA has Form authentication. This plugin does not support Popup Authentication at this time. I will follow the progress of this plugin and when they do get it to work with popup authentication then I'll post about it and update this article. Also make sure to read their forums to make sure you're setting up your accounts properly. Since I can not use this because we have Popup authentication I can not test this.

mozilla thunderbird working with microsoft exchangeSo in conclusion of the Receiving Mail section here. If IMAP and POP3 are disabled on your Exchange server and your OWA has Popup Authentication then this can not work then there's really no practical way of getting this to work. But if anyone else knows of another way let me know.

Sending Mail
Getting mail to send properly was actually harder than setting it up to receive mail. The first and easiest way is to simply setup an SMTP account that points to your server with the proper authentication if it's used. Depending on your Exchange setup this may not work. So see if there are any other mail servers on your network that will work. And always test sending an email to yourself. If you get that working make sure to also send a test email out to your home email address. Some times the Exchange server will be blocking relay to outbound email addresses. As it is in my case.

Option 2: Setup a local SMTP Server. To do this go into your "Control Panel" and open the "Add and Remove Programs" from there click on "Add/Remove Windows Components" Click on the "Internet Information Services (IIS)" and click Details. From there click on and check the "SMTP Service". Let that install and create an SMTP account in Thunderbird and use localhost as the server name. This should solve problems if you're not able to send to Outbound emails. Warning: This may show up as spam on some spam filters.

Option 3: Find a SMTP server and set it up on your computer. There are plenty of free ones out there. Some spam blockers may block your emails but you're usually ok if you're only email a few friends from work and you have them add you to their address book and/or mark all emails from you're email address as safe.

Option 4: You can always use Google's SMTP server. Just setup a gmail account and set the reply-to address to your work email and as long as you put your outbound name the same way it shows up as your Exchange email name then for the most part none should be the wiser. Especially if the person you're emailing is using Outlook. As outlook by default only shows the name and not full email address.

I'm still working on getting LDAP setup for a Global Address List but I know how it should work. But until I actually get it working myself I'm not going to post about it yet. If you know of a good way, help a brutha out in the comments!

By: Sundance of Free TV Shows Online

Aug 20, 2008

Free Alternative to OneNote

After a little searching and trying a few products I have come to the conclusion that the best Free alternative to Microsoft's OneNote is Evernote. I've used OneNote at home for a long time so getting used to the change was a little difficult but well worth it. I now no longer use OneNote at home and have used Evernote exclusively. It is quite a bit different than OneNote and does not have exactly all the same features, but it does have features that OneNote does not have. Evernote can be installed on a vast variety of devices and can be accessed via the web.

evernote, alternative to Microsoft OneNote

You can create multiple notebooks like in OneNote but they are not in tabs nor are the color coded. Some other features of the notebooks is you can select which notebooks you want to sync with the web and which ones you don't. You can also use Evernote to publish your notes on the web. So say you're taking an online class and want to make your notes easily available to everyone you can just go into your notebook options and publish it with any title you want. Then it's instantly available to everyone.

By: Sundance of Free TV Shows Online

Aug 19, 2008

Make a copy of your house key in a pinch

So here I am this morning stumbling away, bored out of my mind when I come accross a new video site I am pretty sure I hadn't seen before. So I start poking around looking for a good video to share with you. I came across one I think you guys might like, which looks like it was originally ripped off from Metacafe (But that is neither here nor there).

Anyway, so on this video a guy makes a copy of a key out of a soda can! I am not quite sure this will work as good as it is demonstrated as the aluminum from the soda can is fairly flimsy, but then again I haven't tried it out myself. I have a crap load of padlocks at my desk (Don't ask) so I might try this little trick out on one of them.

Anyway, without further ado, here is the video. Enjoy!

Have you tried this trick out yourself? Let me know in the comments

Aug 17, 2008

A Message From The Angry Nintendo Nerd: The Power Glove

There is this dude on Youtube called "The Angry Nintendo Nerd." All he does is rants and raves about old Nintendo games, and old Nintendo gaming technology. It is really friggin' funny as he takes you back in time to the wonderful 8 bit graphics, and cheezy Nintendo gadgets.

I want to warn you that this guy curses like a sailor. Me being a former sailor myself, it doesn't bother me so much. In fact I find it pretty funny. You might not though. If you don't appreciate a nice torrent of curse words, then you might want to skip this one.

Anyway, in this episode, the Angry Computer Nerd rants about the Nintendo Power Glove. Enjoy!

Did you have a Nintendo? Did you have the power glove? Did it suck as bad as this guy says it does? Let us know in the comments!

Aug 16, 2008

Changing the Pre-Login Background in Windows

I hate the default colors in Windows XP. Don't get me wrong, blue is a fantastic color, and I certainly don't want to offend anyone whose favorite color is blue. I just like to be different.

Changing the default color is pretty easy though. All it takes is a few changes in the registry. Of course to do that you need to be a local administrator. If you aren't a local administrator, there are ways of becoming one. The quickest way to figure out if you are a local administrator or not is to right-click on the start button. If you see "Explore All Users" as a menu option, you are an administrator. If you don't, aren't a local administrator.

For the sake of argument, and to move along with this article, lets say you are a local administrator. Click on Start > Run and type in regedit then click OK.

Before we go any further, I should probably CMA by saying that changes to the registry can seriously screw up your computer if you don't know what you are doing. Pay careful attention to these instructions, and do not deviate from them. I will not be held accountable for mistakes you make when editing the registry.

Now with that little bit of unpleasantness out of the way, lets continue. So you have the registry editor open. Now you need to browse to HKEY_USERS\Default\Control Panel.

To simply change the background color, go to HKEY_USERS\Default\Control Panel\Colors. Find the background string and double click on it. The three numbers in there are a RGB color code. You can find a list of RGB color codes here: (RGB Colors). Change the number to your corresponding color code. I like mine black, so I changed mine to 0 0 0 (All zeroes).

For an even cooler look, you can set your favorite wallpaper as the default background. The login wallpaper must be in BMP format for it to work when you boot your computer up. If you use a jpg, or gif or something else, it will only kick in after you login and log out once. To set an image as the background, go to HKEY_USERS\Default\Control Panel\Desktop. Find the wallpaper string and double click on it. Enter the full path to your wallpaper. I like to put my wallpaper in c:\windows so that it also shows up in my wallpaper list. As an example, my string says c:\windows\wallpaper.bmp.

To check if everything worked fine, simply log out. If all went well, you will see your changes right away!

Aug 15, 2008

A tool to evaluate SQL injection vulnerabilities

The other night at school we got on the discussion of SQL injection website attacks. I happen to know someone who has a website that has been the victim of multiple SQL injection attacks. This person was getting really fed up with it, and they were finding them selves restoring backups about three times a day due to some script kiddie trying to make name for themselves, and trying to be a 1337 H4x0r.

SQL injection has been around for a while, and isn't anything new. If you are just climbing out from under your rock, and have never heard of SQL injection here is a good definition of what SQL injection is from Wikipedia:

SQL injection is a technique that exploits a security vulnerability occurring in the database layer of an application. The vulnerability is present when user input is either incorrectly filtered for string literal escape characters embedded in SQL statements or user input is not strongly typed and thereby unexpectedly executed. It is in fact an instance of a more general class of vulnerabilities that can occur whenever one programming or scripting language is embedded inside another.

scrawlrWell my instructor pointed out a pretty cool free application one can use to test their web page for basic, simple SQL injection attacks to see if they are vulnerable. If they are vulnerable, this application will give them a nice little report telling them how many vulnerabilities a website might have, which pages vulnerabilities have been found on, and what database information is found on the back end.

This application is from HP, and is called Scrawlr. Since it is free, the scans it does, and the attack methods it uses is fairly basic. For a more robust scan, HP has another enterprise product you can pay for. However if you use Scrawlr, and you do find vulnerabilities, that means your site is open to even the most novice of script kiddies, and you will be able to patch up your site to protect against basic attacks.

Do you know of any other SQL injection scanning/evaluating programs? If you do, I would love to play with some so please let me know in the comments.

Aug 14, 2008

Fighting Antivirus XP/2008/2009: PART II

Just a quick update to the post I did on removing the various versions Antivirus XP/2008/2009. This malware is pretty nasty. In fact my buddy Karl over at Ask The Admin wrote a post about it as well here (aTa Fights Antivirus 2009).

Anyway, I was in my advanced network security class at school last night, and one of my classmates who works at Geek Squad mentioned to the class one of his run-ins with the variant on a home users machine.

He said that the user actually went to the website Antivirus 2009 took her to, and she put in her credit card number and information as requested. Well after she did she received an email saying her credit card information wasn't valid and to try a different credit card. So she did and like clock work she received another email saying that credit card was not valid and so on. You know what that sounds like don't you boys and girls? That's right, a good ol' fashioned phishing scam operation!

Of course my classmate recommended to the user to cancel her cards right away. I'm not sure if she did or not, but if she didn't I am sure she will wish she did!

I just thought this was a nice little tidbit you might want to know, and to pass around to your fellow IT team members.

Aug 13, 2008

El Di Pablo Visits The Set of "Chuck" on NBC

That's right, you read that title correctly. I spent most of the afternoon yesterday milling about the set of the NBC hit television series "Chuck." I knew a lady who knew her husband who works on the set. Since it was also my birthday, he invited us up to Warner Brothers Studios up in Burbank California to take a personal tour of the set, and also let us watch a scene be filmed. It is easily one of the coolest experiences of my life!

If you haven't heard of the show, or you just haven't caught an episode, here is the basic premise from IMDB:

When a twenty-something computer geek inadvertently downloads critical government secrets into his brain, his former college friend turned CIA recruits him as a secret agent, all while keeping him out of evil hands.

I didn't get a picture of it (Mainly because I didn't want to seem like a douche bag who just wants to get pictures of TV stars) but I got to meet the star of the show Zachary "Zack" Levi who was a really cool guy and very down to earth. I also bumped into Adam Baldwin, which besides Chuck, has also been in such films as Independence Day and Full Metal Jacket!

One of the first places on the set I visited was the "Nerd Herd" work room which is supposed to be in the back of the warehouse at "Buy More". If you watch the show you know "Buy More" is a take off on Best Buy, and Nerd herd is a take off of Geek Squad. According to my inside source, the beginning of the new seasons contains a mock "cage match" in this workroom.

Shortly after, and right down the hall is the set of Chuck's apartment. I didn't get any good pictures of that but it was really cool. The set itself is way bigger than my real apartment. I even got to go into his bedroom where the character of Chuck downloads all of the government's secrets into his brain from his Mac.

After the apartment set we walked across the way to the set of "Sarah Walker's" (Played by Yvonne Strahovski) hotel room. That is where the filming was taking place. Here I actually got to sit and work the camera:

Just down the hall from the hotel room, I got to see the set of the new "Command Center." According to my guide, this set is supposed to be in the basement of the Orange shop "Sarah Walker's" character works at as her cover. In here I got my picture taken in front of the command center computer monitors, as well as the server room (No doubt filled with Dell Server props)

The final place on our tour lead us to the set of "Buy More" which was really cool. Inside the set it looks like a real best buy store, and is almost as big. I was assured that all props on the set were fully functioning electronics from the big screen TV's to the guitar hero guitars. Here is a picture of me behind the "Nerd Herd" counter:

After finishing up at Buy More, we had to head back to where they were filming a scene in "Sarah Walker's" room. It wasn't long after that that I had to take off for the day because they were getting ready for a "closed set" scene involving possible nudity. Before I left though, I did get to take one last picture (Did someone say Action?):

If you have never watched Chuck, you don't know what you are missing. It really is a pretty funny show with lots of cool geeky action in it. Chuck can be seen on NBC on Monday nights starting again this fall. In fact Chuck returns on September 29th! Don't miss it!

If you are interested in a preview of the up coming season, I grabbed this off of Youtube:

P.S. In case you were wondering, yes that is a Bauer-Power cap I was sporting. Oddly enough, though the show is about a computer geek, nobody on the set recognized the Linux penguin "Tux" on my hat ;-)

Linux Tux Hat

Aug 11, 2008

Fighting Antivirus XP/2008/2009 Malware

Not sure if you have seen it, but a few of our machines at my company have been hit with different variants of Antivirus XP, Antivirus 2008 or Antivirus 2009. It comes in many other forms and names. Basically what this little bit of nasty does is installs itself, then plagues the victim with pop ups asking for them to buy a full version of the software.

We use McAfee Virus scan with Anti spyware version 8.5 and guess what, it does NOTHING to stop this nuisance. I checked McAfee's site and they know about it, and all they say is to make sure our definitions are up to date (They are by the way).

I installed Spybot on the infected machines, and that cleaned up some of it but not all. I did however find a really cool tool that completely eradicates this nasty bastard. It is called Malwarebytes Anti-Malware!

Antivirus xp/2008/2009After running McAfee, Spybot, Adaware, Clamwin and AVG, Malwarebytes still picked up 42 instances of Antivirus XP/2008/2009 and other little bits of nasty! After a reboot and a second scan, it picked up another 6 before everything was back to normal.

On one of the machines infected with Antivirus 2009, it locked down all internet connections except to the bogus sites it forwards you to to buy the full version. So I had to download Malwarebytes to a thumb drive, as well as the manual updater located here (Malwarebytes manual updater). That way I was able to install Malwarebytes on the infected machine, and update it with the manual update, and get rid of that.

excorcist,antivirus xp 2009
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is free to use. If you want on-access protection, automatic updates, and scheduled scans you need to buy their full version. Here is a list of some key features from

  • Support for Windows 2000, XP, and Vista.
  • Light speed quick scanning.
  • Ability to perform full scans for all drives.
  • Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware Protection Module. (requires registration)
  • Database updates released daily.
  • Quarantine to hold threats and restore them at your convenience.
  • Ignore list for both the scanner and Protection Module.
  • Settings to enhance your Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware performance.
  • A small list of extra utilities to help remove malware manually.
  • Multi-lingual support.
  • Works together with other anti-malware utilities.
  • Command line support for quick scanning.
  • Context menu integration to scan files on demand.

Have you ran into this malware? What did you use to remove it? Hit me up in the comments.

Windows Vista Quick Tip: Turning on/off Thumbnails

As I posted last week some time, I recently upgraded my entire home network to a Windows 2008 domain, which includes Windows Vista Clients.

Well, my wife got to playing with her desktop for the first time last week, and one of the things she noticed was that when she went to view her photos in her pictures directory, that there weren't any thumbnails for her to preview the images. Me being her free tech support (I think that is why she still puts up with me) she asked me to fix it.

There are two ways to get the thumbnails back. The first way, you do the following within the folder you meant to view thumbnails in:

  1. Click on Organize > Folder and Search Options

  2. Click the View Tab
  3. Uncheck the "Always show icons, never thumbnails" option

  4. Click Apply, then OK.
The other option is to:

  1. Click Start > Contol Panel
  2. In classic view, click on Folder Options
  3. Click the View Tab
  4. Uncheck the "Always show icons, never thumbnails" option
  5. Click Apply, then OK.

You guessed it, the second option is basically the same as the first. To turn the thumbnails off, you just check the box instead of uncheck it. Do you have any other cool, quick Vista tips you want to share? Hit my up in the comments.

Aug 5, 2008

Want to see my new encrypted USB flash drive?

Okay, okay, okay, so it doesn't come encrypted by default. No, I encrypted it myself using Truecrypt, but hey, its still encrypted right? I know I have gotten into it with IronKey before, but I still think Truecrypt is the shiznite.

Anyway, one certain thing my new encrypted USB thumb drive has that Ironkey's doesn't is the very bad ass Bauer-Power logo on it!

That's right folks! For those who have been loyal readers for a while, you know I have been peddling my schwag on Cafepress for a long time. Well, I finally switched up to and with that I bring you some new products, as well as some old products at incredibly lower prices than those rip-off artists at Cafepress.

Here is a picture of my new 4GB thumb drive:

Bauer-Power 4GB Encrypted USB Drive

Now we also have 1GB, 2GB drives available with different looks. Here are the other two designs:

Bauer-Power USB Stick

Bauer-Power Tux Linux USB Drive

I now can offer other cool things besides ball caps and t-shirts. Some other cool things I have in my new store are watches, flasks, travel mugs, clocks, wallets, etc!

Check it out! I even have a Bauer-Power PSP case!

Bauer-Power PSP Case

If it has been a while since you visited the store, and you have been aching to get your geek on, give the new store a visit! (Click Here for Bauer-Power gear!)

If you prefer Cafepress, or just like the older designs, don't worry, I am going to leave my store open there too, I just won't actively link to it. If you want to check out what I have there here is the link: (Old Cafepress Bauer-Power gear)

Aug 4, 2008

Upgrading to a Windows 2008 Domain

To just cut to the chase, I have gotten my grubby little hands onto some Vista and Windows Server 2008 Licenses. Don't worry, they are legit (I swear on my sister's life! What? I don't have a sister? Huh?...Never mind)

Anyway, I am playing with this experience for the first time. I have managed to stave off Windows Vista thus far, so I am finally taking the plunge. So far I have installed Vista on my laptop. After that I wanted to upgrade my domain controller from Windows 2003 to Windows 2008. When trying to do it I encountered a pretty major problem. Before upgrading 2000 or 2003 server to 2008 you must first do a forestprep. You can do that prior to the upgrade by doing the following:

  1. Click start > Run
  2. Paste the following in the run line: D:\sources\adprep\adprep /forestprep (Where D: is the drive of your Windows 2008 DVD)
  3. Press OK

windows server 2008Here in lies the problem, after I did forestprep, it seriously jacked up my domain controller. Also, when trying to run the upgrade from the 2008 server disk, the upgrade option was disabled even though I had done forestprep. Also, after having done the forestprep, it made it so no other machines could join/dis join the domain.

Luckily, I had a second domain controller in VMWare, so I seized all FSMO roles, then did a metadata cleanup, and removed the jacked up DC from AD. If you have never done that, there are two really good tutorials over at Petri:

(Seize FSMO Roles)
(Remove Failed DC)

Well, it turns out I didn't really jack up my DC after all. I had just missed an important step in the upgrade process. This can happen when you just wing stuff, like I was doing here. But that's okay, because my home network is basically my personal test sandbox so it didn't matter. The one thing I forgot to do was do a domainprep. I had done forestprep, but I forgot to do domainprep too. You need to do both before you can have a 2008 server domain controller in your existing 2003 domain. You also have to make sure you are running AD in native mode and not mixed mode. Once I had done both on my VM domain controller, and set AD in native mode, I was able to create a second VM 2008 server domain controller.

NOTE: You do a domain prep the same way as forestprep, except you use the /domainprep switch instead.

For my physical domain controller, I had to force demotion on it because I had already ripped it out of AD. After the demotion, I performed the upgrade to 2008 server with no problems, then I re-joined it to the domain, and re-promoted it back to a domain controller and then transferred FSMO roles back to it.

That left my original VM domain controller. I tried upgrading that too, but since it only has an 8GB hard drive, it wouldn't upgrade because of lack of free disk space. So I demoted that DC, removed it from the domain, and deleted that VM. I don't really need three DC's anyway.

Once my servers were taken care of, I went about upgrading the rest of my workstations to Vista (My wife's PC).

I must admit, that this upgrade took a little longer than it needed to, mainly because of the lack of planning on my part. The good thing about doing this sort of thing on the fly is that you learn a lot more. I have always found that one learns the most when things go wrong, because you not only learn the right way to do things, but also because you learn the wrong ways and how to fix the wrong ways.

I think if I were to do this in a production environment, I would first demote any domain controllers, and remove them from the network first, then I would install Windows 2008 Server as a clean install, then promote it to a domain controller. I always prefer a fresh install over an upgrade. It is just cleaner that way.

What about you? Have you performed the upgrade from Windows 2003 server to 2008 server? Care to share your experiences in the comments?

NOTE: I apologize if this post feels like it went all over the place. I have been writing it a piece at a time here and there as I worked on the project.

Aug 1, 2008

Pandora Recovery - Recover files even after formatting

Here's the story. I was installing Vista the other day and was just fed up with all the issues I had been having with it so I went to format my hard drive to get a good clean install.

The worst possible thing that could happen, happened. I formatted my backup drive. 625 GB of data, gone with one quick flick of finger. I thought all was lost. I mean after deleting the partition and reformatting the drive, it was only a quick format but still.

I installed XP and gave up on Vista. I tried to find some good recovery software that could at least get some things back. I came across Pandora Recovery. They sell their recovery software installed on a flash drive and they offer their software as FREEWARE. Not shareware or crapware. It really worked.

I did a deep scan on my hard drive and it found over 9,000 files. MP3, jpg, avi, doc, ect... Oh and if you have a hard time finding the download link, it's up in the top right of the page. I know it took me a little while to find it.

By: Sundance of Free Tv Shows Online

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