Jul 28, 2010

D-Link DIR-655 Wireless-N Router with SharePort

by Thom Hiatt, Guest Writer

Years ago my father-in-law had his house wired for internet access in each room of the house. Then came wireless routers, and he installed a G-band unit. Three years have passed and the family is tired of having some "dead spots" around the house. Plus, they wanted the benefit of sharing the printer, without having to purchase a wireless printer. Being a nice son-in-law, I offered to pick up a Wireless N router with a USB port so that they could share the family printer.

My FIL was looking for a great price, and wanted to see what Fry's had to offer. So we made our visit and I must say that the management at Fry's sure is doing something better than in years past. I've avoided that dreaded F-word of a store for years simply due to their sales tactics, rude behavior, and ridiculous return policies. But things have changed a bit and they seem to be nicer over there.

While looking at 'N' routers, we told the salesman that we needed to be able to share the printer. He pointed us to the only option in the house, the D-Link DIR-655 Wireless-N Router with SharePort. $90 plus tax.

After installing it at my FIL's house, we set up access on four laptop computers. Then it was time to plug in the printer. That's where the nightmare begins.

The router comes with SharePort software on CD, necessary for each laptop that needs access to the printer... which means that netbooks can't readily use it because they don't have CD-ROM drives.

After installing SharePort on both full-sized laptops, we started to run test prints. This is where it gets downright ridiculous.

On Laptop 'A' we type a note in Notepad and then click print. Going through the dialog boxes, we print, no problem.

Laptop 'B' now wants to print. What? You mean you want to simply be able to click the print icon and watch your beautiful masterpiece come out of the printer? No, you're not going to get off that easily, pal.

Before printing, Laptop 'B' must open the SharePort program, see that Laptop 'A' is currently connected, then right-click on the Laptop 'A' listing, then request PERMISSION to use the DAMN PRINTER, then wait for Laptop 'A' to GRANT PERMISSION. Once this has all happened, only then can I click the print icon on my document and print away, assuming it works.

In fact, it's so unusually difficult that SharePort has it's own web page with 4 tabs full of instructions. At the very bottom of tab 2, it says, "[when you are connected] This means that no other PC on your network can access it. If you have more than one PC connected to your network and want to print from that computer, you must ask for access."

WTF? So in my house, I have to ask my wife for permission to connect to the printer? Or in my office I have to ask my intern for permission?

Dear D-Link, this is just stupid. Why do you and other companies continue to make tasks so incredibly difficult? Is it that much more complex to put a print server in the router, perhaps like the Apple Airport Extreme?

What's most frustrating is that the D-Link packaging clearly promotes that you can share your printer, but fails to tell you that it will be a pain in the ass to do so. It's also frustrating that the Fry's salesman didn't know enough to warn us.

So the $90 D-Link is going back to the store, for a refund. And now my father in law will need to decide if he wants to 1) buy an Aiport Extreme for $180, or 2) buy a cheaper wireless router and upgrade to a wireless all-in-one printer for a total cost of around $150-200.

Bottom line: I really wish employees of brands would actually use their own products. If they did so, D-Link employees would realize how much SharePort sucks, and they would provide a better solution.

I offer a new slogan for SharePort:

"Share a printer or mass storage device! Sure, it's kind of a pain, and embarrassingly old-school technology, but it's the best we were willing to do!"

Jul 27, 2010

How To Set an IP Address in Windows From Command Line

This is not something you should have to do often, but it certainly is a nice thing to know. Especially if you have to do this on a large group of computers. Being able to do this from command line in a script is nice.

The reason I had to do it was I migrated a DEV server from one VMWare cluster at my company’s home office over to a new DEV cluster at our offsite data center. I was moving it to a new subnet, so I had to change the static IP address of the virtual server. For some reason, when I powered it on and logged in, I was unable to access Network and Sharing Center. It would open up, but nothing would display. It was almost like it hung up on something. I mentioned it to the person who owned the machine, but they shrugged it off like that was just how it was.

Since it is a personal DEV machine, and not a production server I decided not to spend a lot of time troubleshooting it. I did still have to give this thing a new IP address though. Lucky for me, the command line was working fine!

In order to change the IP address and DNS information from command line on a Windows server, you need to use the netsh command. To change the IP address, subnet mask and default gateway run the following:

netsh interface ip set address name="Local Area Connection" static

command prompt

Of course, you will have to change the interface name, and IP information for your environment. The next thing you may want to change is the DNS server information. To change the Primary DNS server run the following:

netsh interface ip set dnsserver "Local Area Connection" static primary

Once again, change this to match your environment. Now to add additional DNS servers run the following:

netsh interface ip add dnsserver "Local Area Connection" static

Notice in the above example, I have replaced set with add. Smart right? Once you have those set, you can now check your configuration by running ipconfig /all.

Have any other command line tips you want to share? Hit us up in the comments!

Jul 26, 2010

Free and Easy Open Source Monitoring

We are currently evaluating different network monitoring tools right now at my day time gig. We are currently using a mix of HP System Insight manager, SCCM, and Cacti. Our goal is to consolidate into one, easy to use tool. We have looked at three so far, and are slowly narrowing it down to one.

The one I am going to tell you about isn’t one we are going to use, not because it doesn’t work well, but because it runs on Linux, and my new boss is a Windows guy. He wants us to move away from Open Source solutions because often times they require a bit more time to make them work, while many products made for Windows are designed to work out of the box.

The tool I will tell you about, actually works pretty well out of the box as well. All you do is install it in Linux, and the rest you follow the wizards through a web interface! This makes it easy for those who are not so Linux Savvy.

The tool is called Zenoss Core. It was recommended to me by a former colleague, and what I use4d on it was pretty cool. As soon as we stood it up, it asked a series of questions in a wizard like format, and after about 10 minutes or so, we were “off to the races” with monitoring.

From their page:

[Zenoss Core is] One of the most popular projects on Sourceforge.com, Zenoss Core  is an award-winning open source IT monitoring product that offers visibility over the entire IT stack, from network devices to applications. Features include automatic discovery, inventory via CMDB, availability monitoring, easy-to-read performance graphs, sophisticated alerting, an easy-to-use web portal, and much, much more.

If you’re boss is one of those who doesn’t like Open Source because of a lack of support, there is an enterprise version of Zenoss available too. The enterprise version gives you all the features of Core, plus the following:

  • Zenoss-Core Deep VMware Monitoring
  • Enhanced Windows Monitoring
  • Synthetic Transactions (Web, Email, Database)
  • Predictive Thresholds
  • Fine-Grained Access Control
  • Global Dashboard
  • Distributed Configuration Manager
  • High Availability Package
  • Enterprise ZenPacks
  • Production-level, expert support via phone and email
  • Premium service levels
  • Automated patch management
  • Licensing & IP Assurance

If you must know, the tools we are leaning towards are Orion by SolarWinds because both my new boss, and my coworker are familiar with it, and opManager by ManageEngine because it is similar, but cheaper. It’s funny, but if you look at both of these products side by side, they almost look identical! It’s almost as if opManager copied the source code from Orion when they built it! I suppose it will come down to price on which one we choose there.

If you’re IT department is looking for a new monitoring solution, and you have no qualms about using Linux and Open Source, then I recommend checking out Zenoss Core.

I’m curious to know what you use for monitoring in your environment. Is it free/open source? Is it easy to setup and configure? Do you hate it? Let us know in the comments!

Jul 22, 2010

Free Alternative To Veeam Reporter

Sorry I haven’t been blogging as frequently as I normally do. I have been slammed all of a sudden with a boat load of projects at work. Namely because we have to do a much needed network cleanup, but also to understand how the infrastructure is currently setup. There has been a lot of turnover in the department, and as mentioned in a previous article, with all that turnover comes layers of inconsistent network design.

One of my duties right now is to create a data map of our entire network using Visio. On small networks, that is a simple task, but on vast networks with hundreds of nodes, it becomes a larger task. I mentioned previously that I found a tool that generates topology diagrams for Active Directory automatically. I wanted something that does the same thing, but for virtualized infrastructure.

I looked at Veeam Reporter, but that isn’t free. I’m not sure how much it costs, in fact I am still waiting on a quote from our software vendor, but the fact remains, it isn’t free. While waiting for the quote though, I found something that is free, and does everything I need and more!

The tool is called vEcoShell! Here are some of it’s features from their website:

vecoshell Gather – Access data from multiple standalone ESX Servers or vCenter instances to consolidate information from every layer of the virtualization stack including the operating systems, applications and infrastructure services.

Filter – Easily identify inconsistencies and provide “health checks” on any virtual infrastructure and multi-platform environment with powerful time-saving filters that can be tuned, saved and leverage across the organization.

Remediate – Reduce errors and streamline repetitive administrative tasks by efficiently modifying multiple objects across the infrastructure in a single operation.

Report – Rapidly generate and customize reports for all types of IT- and business-related processes – save and print to a variety of formats such as XML, CSV, HTML and Microsoft Visio.

Integrate - Leverage Windows PowerShell technology across the virtual environment to provide unparalleled integration capabilities with hypervisors, operating systems and application workloads, including support for Vizioncore vControl and Vizioncore vRanger Pro.

This tool provides a GUI front end to VMWare CLI, and PowerGUI that give you many tools that you don’t have in your standard virtualization environment. It also has tools to work with other virtualization technologies like Microsoft Hyper-V!

Besides the Visio diagram automation I was looking for, it also gives you tools to not just report, but also manage your infrastructure better. For instance, It can provide a report on snapshots, their age, and allows you to remove old snap shots all from one place!

So far, this is the best free VMWare management and reporting tool I have ever seen! I highly recommend it to ANY administrator who has to manage virtual servers.

What are some of your favorite VMWare/Virtualization tools? Are they free? If not, how much do they cost? Let us know in the comments!

Note: I received word from Veeam that a free edition of Veeam Reporter is in the works. Here is a link to the details: (Veeam Reporter FREE)

Jul 16, 2010

Create Active Directory Topology Diagrams Automagically

I just got a new boss at work the day before yesterday, and like a lot of small companies there is a serious lack of documentation. We have had a lot of turnover in the IT department, and things are constantly changing. I have only been at my job for just under a year, and I am already on my third boss. With each new manager or director comes a new way of running a network, so you can imagine the hodge-podge of systems on the network. Like many of the new bosses coming in, I had my own ideas on how things should be run, but ultimately it is up to the person sitting in the manager seat right? Therefore not much has changed... Until now.

One of the first things my boss has asked me to do is to create a map of our network topology so he can get an idea of how things are setup in the various domains we manage. That got me thinking of ways to automate the process, and lucky for me I found a nice little tool that does the trick. The tool is called the Microsoft Active Directory Topology Diagrammer, or ADDT for short.

What this tool does is, using either Visio 2003, 2007 or 2010, it scours Active Directory and spits out a fairly detailed topology of your domain, sites, trusts, Exchange, etc. All in a pretty, easy to understand Visio diagram.

Here is an Overview from Microsoft:

With the Active Directory Topology Diagrammer tool, you can read your Active Directory structure through Microsoft ActiveX® Data Objects (ADO). The Active Directory Topology Diagrammer tool automates Microft Office Visio to draw a diagram of the Active Directory Domain topology, your Active Directory Site topology, your OU structure or your current Exchange 200X Server Organization. With the Active Directory Topology Diagrammer tool, you can also draw partial Information from your Active Directory, like only one Domain or one site. The objects are linked together, and arranged in a reasonable layout that you can later interactively work with the objects in Microsoft Office Visio.

Pretty cool right? Know of any other free tools that can easily, and automatically create detailed network maps of your environment? Let us know your favorite tools in the comments!

Jul 15, 2010

Prank on The New Boss

Last week my was my IT Manager’s last day, and upper management had already found a candidate to replace him with a Director. We are getting ready to do a data center move, so the new Director wanted to start right away to get in on the project.

All of us IT guys had a meeting on Tuesday to discuss projects, and the new Director. During the meeting my counterpart, James, said, “We have to do some sort of prank on the new Director!” So we all thought about it for a little bit, and finally decided we should build him an old junkie computer running Windows 98! The other guys were too afraid they would get in trouble with the new Director, so none of the help desk or desktop guys wanted to set up the Windows 98 box, so I decided I would do it. What was the worst thing that could happen?

Win98 I began looking on my MSDN for Windows 98, but no luck there so I had to seek the media elsewhere. I wasn’t able to find Windows 98, but I did find Windows 98 SE (Second Edition). I thought that was better because I do work for a Microsoft Gold Partner, so we have to stay cutting edge!

The oldest computer we had lying around the office wasn’t THAT old per se, but it was certainly nothing special. It was an older Dell Latitude D510. Windows 98 SE installed easily, with only a few drivers missing. No big deal, the laptop didn’t have to work, it was just a joke anyway.

Yesterday the Director started, and spent most of the day in orientation. When he finally went to his desk, one of the Help Desk guys took him in there. I missed the whole thing, but the Help Desk guy said that the director didn’t find it very funny. Not funny? WTF?

Well, I spoke with my Director’s boss later that day (He was in on the joke by the way) and he said that the Help Desk guy ruined the joke. When he led the Director to his desk he told him, “Here is your computer… Only kidding! Ha ha ha!” before even letting the director power it on…. Um, yeah! I wouldn’t find the joke funny either if someone ruined it!

Anyway, the joke is a good idea. I don’t want to see it go to waste, so please feel free to do this joke on a boss, or co-worker on their first day. Let me know how they react in the comments!

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Jul 13, 2010

Episode 25 – The Final Episode

Yes, I’m afraid you read that correctly. This will be the final video episode of Bauer-Power. Now, don’t get your panties in a bunch, because I will still be making videos, I just want to separate them from the blog.

My reasoning for this is I have several years of content on Bauer-Power that I feel would be good to use in the videos. I really don’t want to duplicate stuff I have already talked about on the blogs and the videos, and then re-post them on the blog. I feel that if I branch out with a different brand for the videos, I am more free to do whatever I want, and to reach back and use previous content.

Also, when I first started doing the videos, they were sort of an experiment. I had been watching a lot of Podcasts on the Internet and felt that I could do it too. It took a lot of trial and error, but I think i finally have the hang of it. We started out editing everything in Windows Movie Maker, and have since moved to better editing software, and better equipment. All of which make creating these videos easier!

Here is the final episode, complete with our original (EXTRA LONG) action opening sequence!

Come and watch videos at our new home at TechChop.com! Thanks for sticking with us for the last 25 episodes!

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Jul 7, 2010

Acer Aspire M5100 With Windows 7 64 Bit. BSOD FTW!

Sweet baby Jesus do I hate Acer! I hate Acer because of their lousy customer service, and crappy warranty support. My experience comes from being an Acer Aspire M5100 owner.

That being said, besides that one bad experience, this computer has lasted a while, so I guess it isn’t that bad hardware wise, just customer service wise. Up until recently things were trucking along nicely with it.

A weekend or two ago though my heat sink got clogged up after all this time. Instead of cleaning it out I decided to upgrade it, and get rid of the stock one, so I purchased a new heat sink. While I was at it, I also upgraded the RAM to 8GB, Since I now had 8GB or RAM, I needed a 64 bit operating system. Since Windows 7 32 bit ran fine, I figured Windows 7 64 bit would too. Not so much.

Everything worked fine except the embedded ATI graphics card. After installing Windows 7, I would get intermittent Blue Screens of Death, and they were caused by the ATI video driver. If I rebooted there would be a 75% chance that I would get a STOP: 0x00000116 error caused by atikmdag.sys.


I decided that perhaps the Windows Driver that automatically installed with Windows 7 64 bit was the cause, so I went to Acer’s site to download their Vista 64 bit driver (They didn’t have one for Windows 7) and I got the same thing. I decided to go to the ATI site, and lo and behold, they had a notice saying that that particular integrated video card was not supported under Windows 7 64 bit. Crap! They did say that you could try the Vista Driver, but they wouldn’t support it… Damn, already tried that.

The only logical option? Go tell the wife that you “unfortunately” have to go by a better graphics card! That is exactly what I did!

I headed over to Fry’s and purchased a Zotac GeFroce 9500GT DDR2 for about $60. Sure, not top of the line, but it is a vast improvement over the onboard card. Here are the specs for you hardware junkies from the Zotac website:


So far, it has been a vast improvement over the onboard card, and I have noticed a performance increase when video and picture editing. I wasn’t sure about it when I bought it because I had never heard of Zotac, but the reviews on Amazon were pretty good, so what the heck right? No more blue screens, and improved performance. Win/win if you ask me.

Do you own a Zotac video card? Like it? Dislike it? Do you use if for gaming? Video or picture editing? Do you prefer a different brand?  Let me know your opinion in the comments.

Jul 6, 2010

Law & Order: Dead on the Money Download

So I sometimes get requests to find games, software, movies, TV shows, etc… that people can’t find to download online. I am sometimes even told, “It doesn’t exist”, “It’s no where to be found.” and that just makes me want to find it anyway. Now sometimes things simply aren’t out there anywhere, like a free Bastard Secretary font, but I can usually find an alternative or a way to get what you want without too much work.

So I got this request to find this Law & Order game from 2002 and sure enough, no torrent for it, but a few pages deep in Google on a non-English page. I found a list of MegaUpload links for the game. I have had the game downloaded and verified that it works. I also decided to add a short little description from Amazon about the game. Also if you like the game or the company that developed it then I suggest that you do go out and buy it eventually as long as it’s from a location where the company will actually get the money to support them. Or very least give the game a good review somewhere.

Product Description

Law & Order: Dead on the Money is an exciting 3-D game based on an original, complex murder case created by a Law & Order TV writer. You'll step into the dramatic world of criminal investigation when you're called to a crime scene in Manhattan's Central Park. You and your partner, Detective Lennie Briscoe (actual voice of Jerry Orbach), will work to uncover the identity of the victim, gather evidence, track down witnesses, and identify viable suspects. Once you've got enough evidence to make an arrest, your supervisor, Lieutenant Anita Van Buren (actual voice of S. Epatha Merkerson), will sign off on your warrant. Once you have the killer in custody, the focus shifts to the criminal courts. You'll work with Assistant District Attorney Serena Southerlyn (actual voice of Elisabeth Rohm) to build a compelling case that will convince the jury to return a guilty verdict and convict the defendant.

Format: rar/iso

Language: English

File Size: about 1gb

File List

CD 1 part 1Law and order dead on the money

CD 1 part 2

CD 1 part 3

CD 1 part 4

CD 1 part 5

CD 1 part 6

CD 1 part 7

CD 2 part 1

CD 2 part 2

CD 2 part 3

CD 2 part 4

CD 2 part 5

CD 2 part 6

CD 2 part 7

CD 2 part 8

CD 2 part 9

Disclaimer stuff: We are not responsible for these uploads, maintaining these links or if this uber jacks your computer and basically anything bad or good that could ever come from you using these links. I think that should just about cover our ass for a disclaimer.

By FreedomChicken


Jul 5, 2010

Episode 24 - Aiptek Hi-Speed, Tascam ST1 and Sony Vegas Pro

I know, I know. I usually don't release episodes more than once a month. Well, at least that is how I've been running things since the beginning of this year. If you recall when I first started making videos, I would release them whenever I had time to make them. I originally wanted to wait until the end of the month to release this one, but I was rather disappointed with episode 23, and I finally got the hang of blue screen thanks to the help of Sony Vegas Pro!

Also, I decided to pursue another project which I plan to reveal sometime next week, so stay tuned. This new project will affect my tech videos greatly, and I don't want to wait too much longer before I release my project to the world! I am really excited about it, and I hope you all are too!

Enough about that, and back to this episode. I decided to re-invest some of my advertising revenue back into my videos by purchasing a new video camera, a new microphone and acquiring new video editing software! The camera is an Aiptek Hi-Speed 720P HD Camera, the mic is a Tascam ST1, and as I mentioned before, the software is Sony Vegas Pro! Take a look!

As you can see, with the exception of Sony Vegas Pro, these relatively cheap products actually do quite a bit as far as improving the quality of the show! Sony Vegas adds a lot too, but it really isn't very cheap. It is however, one of the easiest to use video editing programs i have ever used!

Stop by next week, and you will see what I am talking about as far as my new project. I know waiting sucks, but it's not yet ready for prime time. When I do let you all in on my secret, I hope you will all love it as much as i am excited about doing it!

As always, if you have any questions about this episode, hit me up in the comments!

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Jul 1, 2010

NEW Bauer-Puntu Linux Commercial

Last night my wife was rather tired from staying up all night the day before with my son who is apparently getting some new teeth, so she went to bed early. I figured, why not go have some fun in the garage and make a quick video. Then I thought it would be good to sort of update my old Bauer-Puntu Linux commercial!

The original one I did using Microsoft Movie Maker, and it is a rather simple video. I think it is still ok, but I specifically mention version 8.10 of Bauer-Puntu, so I figured in the new one I would try to keep it generic so it stays relevant.

The original did fairly well on Youtube with a little over 10,000 views. Sure, it’s not a million, but I aim small when doing short cheesy videos. If you have never seen the original, here it is:



Now, here is my new one!



What do you think? Better? Worse? I can take it! Let me know in the comments!

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