Dec 26, 2012

Top Ten Favorite Freeware Programs For Windows

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, and were able to spend lots of time with friends and family. I had a great time with my family, and my wife's dad, aunt and uncle. My wife got me a new Samsung Galaxy SIII which is running on Jellybean. I really needed it too because the 3G radio in my HTC Evo finally crapped out last week. Perfect timing!

Anyway, Christmas is over so it's back to work. I thought I would share with you the last Tech Chop I did for the year. It's on my top 10 favorite freeware programs for Windows that I use every day. Well, I use them on Windows, but some of them are available on other platforms like Linux and/or Mac. Check it out!

Here's that list for those of you too lazy to watch an 8 minute video:
What are your favorite freeware apps? Did I miss some that you think should have made the list? Let me know what you like to use in the comments!

Dec 21, 2012

No Interface Configured After Re-IP'ing XenServers

I really like XenServer. Although I'm more of a VMWare man, and am VMWare certified, I still prefer the free version of XenServer over VMWare ESXi because you can cluster it. Because you can cluster it, and it's free, we use it at my company's office to host our local company servers.

Well over the weekend we replaced our Firewall with a new one, and since I had to swap out the firewall I thought it would be a good opportunity to re-design the network, which meant a new IP scheme. With new IP addresses, that meant I had to re-IP the XenServers.

I re-IP'ed the XenServers through XenCenter, but after I did that only the master server could be contacted. I went over to the physcial servers and opened up a local terminal, and it appeared like the NICs were missing! When I went to configure the IP addresses, there was a message saying, "No Interface Configured."

Needless to say, that was quite the set back as I couldn't continue with the rest of the stuff I had to do for the re-design until I got that working again. Here's what I had to do on each of the slave XenServers:

  • Drop to the shell and run the following command to make the slave the master temporarily:

    #xe pool-emergency-transition-to-master
  • Exit the shell, and now you should be able to configure a management IP address through the local GUI.
  • Drop back to the shell and run the following to make the REAL master the master again, and slave the affected machine to the master:

    #xe pool-emergency-reset-master master-address=[IP of Master]
That's it, after doing the above on each of the slaves, I was able to re-IP them and re-attach them to the master.

Have you ever run into a similar issue? Did you resolve it differently? If so, let me know in the comments!

Dec 20, 2012

Just in Time for the Holidays: Netflix on Ubuntu 12.10

You cried out, shaking your fists in frustration and finally, after so many failed attempts, - a site dedicated to covering all Ubuntu news - released an announcement in November that Netflix could be installed on Ubuntu 12.10, with the help of WINE, Firefox and Silverlight. With the help of Netflix's programmer, Erich Hoover, released several updates, the last of which reported improvements in the system in early December. Most Linux/Ubuntu fans are probably thinking this is too good to be true, and there is a catch; you have to enable DRM content in Silverlight, which may cause some to grumble, but then again, you can't please everyone.  Netflix has simply provided a high tech alternative to regular old TV, and are now expanding to even more potential viewers.

For the newbie Ubuntu user, provides several comprehensive tutorials on how to easily install Netflix on the Ubuntu's latest version, and what to do if you hit any snags along the way. Jack Wallen at breaks the installation process down into simple steps, while sympathizing with free open source users who will scoff at being required to sign off on security restrictions. There are ways around the legal installation, but you'll have to search to find those tricks on your own.
If this is your first experience using Linux on your desktop and you're having trouble going through any of the installation steps, check out Ubuntu's community Internet Relay Channel (IRC) and connect with another more experienced user via chat or live support for answers to your programming questions in real time. This community is filled with programmers of varying levels so, if one suggestion doesn't work, there are several other ideas you can "test" out.


Before you proceed to installing anything on your desktop, make sure all of your software and programs needed in this installation are updated. When inake sure all of your crucial documents, programs, and other software such as your  are backed up in case anything goes wrong with the download. An upgrade in FireFox is necessary, at least for installation. The easiest way to update everything all at once is using an update manager, like VMware or InstallShield. If you wish to update via command line, open a terminal window on your desktop and take these steps:
  • Issue the command sudo apt-get update
  • Enter sudo password
  • Once the update completes, issue the command sudo apt-get upgrade
  • Accept the updates
If you're prompted to reboot, because of a kernal upgrade, then follow through rebooting your machine.

Install App

You're probably trembling with excitement and rightfully so, since many have tried to install versions of the Netflix desktop app before and did so with limited success. Here are the steps needed for the command line installation of Netflix:
  • Open a terminal window
  • Issue the command sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ehoover/compholio
  • Hit Enter
  • Issue the command sudo apt-get update
  • Issue the command sudo apt-get install netflix-desktop
After you run these commands, you will see about 129 dependencies necessary for the installation to begin. Enter OK to run these dependencies and the installation process should take place. Depending on your connection's speed, this process should take about an hour. When that's finished, you will want to take these final steps:
  • Open the Unity Dash
  • Type "NETFLIX"
  • Click Install on the Wine Mono Installer (this is necessary for .NET)
  • Click Install on the Wine Gecko Installer (this is necessary for embedded HTML to work properly)
If you get an error at first, Wallen says to OK the error, it seems that this is a glitch that appears for some unknown reason. Also, make sure you back up any work you have written in earlier versions of WINE before you install the updated version. After the local installation is completed, the Netflix application will be in full screen mode. You can hit F11 to get out of full-screen mode. If you're not interested in staying with the latest version of Firefox, feel free to delete the new Firefox icon on your desktop as well. After all of this is completed, if you don't need to check the IRC page, you can kick back and enjoy your favorite movies, TV shows and documentaries streamed from Netflix to your Linux/Ubuntu desktop.

Authored by:

Sue Corrie Sue keeps up with what is trending in social media and tech. She promotes open source forms of web design and believes that going low budget is not always the way to go if you want to reach your audience. You do get what you pay for, after all.

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Dec 18, 2012

Why Windows, OSX or Linux Will Never Kill Humans and Take Over

Saw this comic today that pokes a little fun at the three main computer operating systems out there, Windows, OSX and Linux. I guess that means that Cylons, and Terminators must all run on FreeBSD... Check it out:

I have it on good authority that Cylons run on FreeBSD
[Via Luke Surl]

Dec 17, 2012

The Colors of Good VS Evil in Comics [Infographic]

I found a really interesting inforgraphic on the colors used to depict our favorite costumed crime fighters from both Marvel and DC comics. Have you ever noticed that some of the best characters all where similar colors? Superman, Captain America, Wonder Woman all where red white and blue right? Well it's not an accident, it's by design! Check out this infographic:

Dec 14, 2012

Pretend You Don't Know S#!T About Computers

I, like most of you reading this, am the family IT guy. That pretty much means that any type of technical question gets thrown my way. That, or my wife volunteers my time to everyone she runs into with the slightest computer issue. That's one of the reasons I am a slave to my Dentist... But hey, free dental right?

I have a former colleague that used to tell me it because everyone has a computer, and nobody knows how to use the damned things that he tells everyone that he works in shipping and receiving instead of IT so they don't all ask for computer help. Well I found this comic by The Oatmeal that essentially tells us the same thing! Check it out!

Dec 13, 2012

4KB of IBM Memory Was Bigger Than Your Desktop Computer Back In the Day

When I first got into IT back in 2004 a majority of computers in the office I worked at had 256MB of RAM or 512MB of RAM. I remember sitting in on a meeting with the VP of IT at that time and the discussion of ordering new desktops came up and he said that he didn't want to order anything less than 1GB for desktops.

Fast forward to my current position where I am the Network and Security Manager of a technology company working on the budget for next year and I am pricing out computers with 16GB of RAM for our developers. We've come a long way! Well I found this photo online of an old "stick" of 4KB memory that was once used by IBM, and the funny thing is that it's bigger than most desktop computers are these days! Check it out!

This image is roughly 48KB in size that means that in order to view this picture with that old piece of memory I would need at least 12 of them just to render the picture! Crazy!
[Via TSG]

Dec 12, 2012

Superman VS The Hulk

When I was younger I used to collect Marvel Comic cards. If you don't know what they are they are sort of like baseball cards but have information about the various characters in the Marvel universe. One of my favorite characters was the Hulk.

Because of his incalculable strength, which is what the back of his card said he had, I always wondered how a fight between him and one of my favorite DC comic characters, Superman, would turn out. Now I know this senario has happened before in a DC/marvel crossover like this one from 1996:

Still though it would be nice to see this done using animation or live actors right? Well here you go, I found these two videos from Animator Mike Habjan on Youtube, check it out!

Part I

Part II

Pretty awesome don't you think? I like that he used the Christopher Reeve Superman and the Ed Norton Hulk. Not sure I agree with the outcome though. I'm pretty sure Superman would beat the Hulk. I mean all he would have to do is fly him up into outer space and let him go... No more Hulk!

What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments!

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