Saturday, December 29, 2007

F.U. to the RIAA!!!

UI saw this on Engadget and I just have to say... WTF???

"Sure, we've heard RIAA-admiring lawyers affirm that ripping your own CDs is in fact "stealing," but it seems the aforementioned entity is putting its money where its mouth is in a case against Jeffrey Howell. Reportedly, the Scottsdale, Arizona resident is being sued by the RIAA, and rather than Mr. Howell just writing a check and calling it a day, he's fighting back in court. Interestingly, it seems that the industry is maintaining that "it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into their computer." Ira Schwartz, the industry's lawyer in the case, is arguing that MP3 files created on his computer from legally purchased CDs are indeed "unauthorized copies," and while we've no idea what will become of all this, we suppose you should go on and wipe those personal copies before you too end up in handcuffs." -http://www.engadget.com/2007/12/29/riaa-suing-citizen-for-copying-legally-purchased-cds-to-pc/

So.. Let me get this straight. It is illegal if I wanted to copy a little Siouxie to my iPod from my CD collection. Wait a sec.. I purchased these CDs, before mp3s were popular or even an electronic format, so I can listen to the music whenever and wherever I want. This means that anyone that purchased MP3 players before the days of i-Tunes is in violation of this ridiculous law.

So, This is what I will be doing to protest.
I will not be purchasing any new albums.
No one will give me any new CDs as presents.
Everyone that I know and talk to should boycott buying any new albums or MP3s.

I think that we all should give the RIAA a BIG F.U.!!!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Goodbye 2007

Well, Another year is winding down and I am looking forward to seeing what 2008 brings. Don’t get me wrong. 2007 has not been all that bad. There has only been a few “issues” that we as a family have had to deal with.
1. Dad has cancer, but recovering nicely.
2. Dad also is having heart issues, but the doctors felt putting in a defibrillator/pacemaker was a good idea. – verdict is still out on this one.
3. My youngest had to go under the knife to remove an infection that was encapsulated.
4. A friend of mine, from a former company, had a heart-attack. I hear that he is doing okay, but since he does not return my message I don’t know for sure how he is doing… But, I did get a Christmas card from him and his family.
5. The cat decided that pulling out her stitches after her surgery was a good idea. This caused a secondary infection which caused her to stay in her kennel for a week and $300 dollars that I really did not need. But, she is doing fine now and is warming herself by the fire.
I think that is about it…

Work is going well, lots of projects and new technologies that I can put my hands in. New EVA 8100, HP 7000c Blades (dual “Quad”-cores), POE switches, and a ton of other things.

I still am working as the Infrastructure Department, since my supervisor left to take a job in Florida about 6 months ago. Good news is that we are trying to hire a person to give me some relief. It was sort of funny this morning, I was talking with my boss and saying that things are getting done, just slowly and that I am getting use to the work load. Just a little funny…

I have finally got to hook up the Wii. Let me tell you. It is very cool. I see what people say about the difference in playing the Wii verses everything else, you need to be standing with nothing around you. The games that I have are Wii Sports and Wii Play. We sports is lots of fun and even the kids and Liz enjoy playing Wii Bowling and Wii Golf. I can see what the Xbox means about doing exercise while playing is just wrong. After playing a full round of tennis, I realize that I am working up a sweat. The Wii is lots of fun for all.

We also had snow on Christmas. The girls really enjoyed themselves and loved watching the snow cover the trees outside. They both scored from Santa, ranging from a princess MP3 player to a digital camera to a Hello Kitty purse.

Hello 2008!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Game Review: The Orange Box


I am a big fan of the Half-life series by Valve Software. Here is a company that produces some really great games that have a lot of replay value. To this day, I still play Counter Strike and Day of Defeat for the PC. Games that are many many years past their prime. But, they are still good with a great following.

I was excited to play “The Orange Box” for the 360. Here is a single disk that contains 5 games - Half-Life2, HL2 Episode 1, HL2 Episode 2, Team Fortress 2 and Portal. I did not get into Team Fortress or Portal, only had 5 days on the rental. Prior to renting this, I own and have finished both Half-Life 2 and HL2 Episode 1. I really wanted to play Episode 2 and it did not a disappoint.

It picked up right where Episode 1 left off, so I would suggest that you start from the beginning and work your way through from the beginning. The graphics lived up to the Half-Life 2 Source engine. The AI was fairly intelligent, even on normal. It certainly lived up to the HL2 name. I would highly recommend playing this game and this series. And this is a great way to do it. Valve provides you the entire series for one price. Take home message: Good Graphics – check out the water, Puzzles are similar to the rest of the series, and good replay value.

If you do not have Half-Life 2, this is a buy!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Tis The Season for Stupid People

Today is Black Friday and people are clamoring in the stores for all of their holiday shopping needs. Shops are crowded, people are rushing around, and just generally being stupid. This is why I generally work today. No one is around and I actually can get stuff done. However, I did have to drive by a Best Buy and noticed that there is a lot of people who forgot their manners this morning and how to be polite. Cutting in line, is something that really pisses me off. This is not China, lines ACTUALLY mean something here. For example, waiting for the person who is waiting for another person’s car to move out of a parking space. Honking and carrying on just makes you look stupid and impatient. Along those same lines, Driving… Don’t wait until the last possible second to change lanes. Or if you know that the lane ends, move over sooner. It really pisses me off when we are all moving along in traffic and some dipshit thinks that he is too Fucking self important to travel with us commoners. He has to Zoom in the ending lane and cut in front of another car. Causing us all to hit our breaks. (You’re lucky I don’t own a gun for doing shit like that) Another group of people who really piss me off - People bathing in perfume. They have no consideration for other people senses. One squirt goes a long way! You don’t have to use the entire bottle. We don’t care how much you paid for it. By the time you drench yourself in it, you smell like a strip club. (Yes, I have been to one or two in my day) And finally, this one goes out to the great unwashed… When you are in a public place make sure that you don’t smell. Do the rest of us a favor - Water! Use it! and… Deodorant, not optional.

Take home message.
1. If you want to get somewhere sooner, leave the house earlier.
2. Take a bath, we all don’t need to smell you!
3. Play well with others and be nice.
4. Think! Don't be Stupid!

Maybe I am being a little overly sensitive and am using the holidays as an excuse for people and their behavior. But, it does seem to get far worse around the holidays.

You know... This is all coming from a guy who has a mug that says "Warning... DOES NOT Play Well With Others!" It has to be really bad for me to Rant about it.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Winterborn - Acoustic Version

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Bought a Wii....Weeeeeeee!

On Thursday, I joined the Wii Club. I was not intending to buy anything, honest!

Here's the story...

I was in CompUSA with a co-worker, he was getting a wireless router for home, and while we were standing around the checkout counter, I was joking with the sales rep about never having any Wiis. "Well, Sir, we actually have one..." So, out comes the Disney Visa - right after I called the wife.. (Hey, I know that I would be a dead duck if I came in without asking)

Here is how that converstation went -
Me: What would happen if I came home with a Wii in hand?
Wife: Did you pay for it?
Me: I can take it back.
Wife: Where are you at?
Me: CompUSA
Wife: Why
Me: co-worker needed something and we were at lunch.
Wife: Okay... But that is it..

So, I bought the Wii and Wii Play. But, here is the kicker...

I CAN'T OPEN IT UNTIL CHRISTMAS!!!

Merry Christmas to me! (I mean the Kids!)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Elcomsoft turns your PC into a password cracker

I saw this and just had to post it...


"You know all that talk about GPUs being the new CPUs? Well it's not just a lot of hot, ventilated air. Thanks in large part to the launch of development kits like nVidia's CUDA, Russian outfit Elcomsoft has just filed for a US patent which leverages GPUs to crack passwords. Their approach harnesses the massively parallel processing capabilities of modern graphics cards to make minced-meat of corporate-strength password protection. An NTLM-hashed Microsoft Vista password, for example, can now be cracked in 3 to 5 days (instead of two months) using a simple, off-the-shelf, $150 graphics card -- less complicated passwords can take just minutes. Dial the GPU up to an $800 GeForce 8800 Ultra and Elcomsoft's approach will crack passwords at a rate some 25 times faster than existing CPU-only approaches. Yippee?"
http://www.engadget.com/2007/10/24/elcomsoft-turns-your-pc-into-a-password-cracking-supercomputer/

Wholly cow. I really hope that the Government does not grant their patent. So much for those strong passwords...What's the point??!!??

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

10 Ways to Work More Securely

I was surfing last night and found this Microsoft article about Security in the work place. It is very simple and easy to do. He is the Top 10 List –
Best way to protect company data.
I feel like Letterman…

Number 10: Use the Junk E-mail Filter in Outlook 2003
Number 9: Encrypt e-mail messages when appropriate.
Number 8: Don't open questionable e-mails.
Number 7: Encrypt files containing confidential or business critical files.
Number 6: Use password protection on your screensaver.
Number 5: Lock your computer when you leave your desk. It is really easy (Windows+L)
Number 4: Use network file shares instead of local file shares.
Number 3: Don't enable the Save Password Option.
Number 2: Use strong passwords.

And the last and most Novel idea
Number 1: Work with your IT department.

But, it seems like people either don’t want to take the time or simply don’t care. Being a System Administrator, it is really hard to protect company assets without the assistance of the user population. (Without becoming an IT Nazi – and nobody wants that!!!)
http://www.microsoft.com/AtWork/getstarted/worksecure.mspx

Saturday, October 06, 2007

New Poll Released!

It is time for you to vote on "What do you use for gaming?" Are you a PC or Console Gamer? Perhaps you do both.. Here is your time to tell the rest of the world.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Finished Halo3

Well... On Thursday I finished Halo 3, after only about 6 hours of gameplay. As I stated earlier, I was on easy. Walking through the entire game, checking out stuff, new weapons, learning to fly, etc... Now for bumping it up a level. The ending was setup very well for being the ending of the saga. (I will not spoil it for anyone) This game put me much more involved than most other games, with the exception of Oblivion. I connected with the other NPCs (non-player characters) and felt that it was my duty to protect them at all costs. The AI on the harder level is actually significantly more difficult than the easy level. They will actually come after you, even when you are trying to recharge your shields. Funny story, I was hiding behind some boxes and several of those little guys (grunts) came charging after me with grenades. They got to where I was and the grenades went off, killing all of the them and me. Talk about overkill for a suicide bombing. One would have effectively taken me out.

Great game - well worth the money - and a MUST OWN!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

HALO 3 - ARRIVED!!!



I was asked.. "So, Steve, when did you get your copy of Halo 3?" Well, I had restrained myself to purchase it on Tuesday from Costco, instead of waiting in line at Midnight.. (really good deal - $49.99)

Currently, I am playing the campaign on easy. So, I am literally walking through the game. Just until I get a feel for the controls and how things work.

First Impressions

It looks like a Halo Game. Halo 3 looks like Halo and Halo 2, except bigger and better. The graphics are not as graphically stunningly-awesome like BioShock or Gears of War. I didn't go "holy crap, look at that water". However, it is totally smooth. The frame-rate is clearly the number one priority of their graphics engine. There's no tearing, no drops, no slowdown. It's just smooth and seamless.

The story picks up literally minutes after Halo 2 ends. This, of course, means that you should familiarize yourself with the storyline if you want the game to make sense. The dual wielding (two guns) option, combined with the addition of a pile of new weapons makes the mind work much more than with Halos 1 and 2. You're constantly asking in the back of your mind, "is this the right combo for what might be coming. Namely the FLOOD!" Also, you'll need to watch the reaction of the enemies, as they are funny. It's a really solid game.

Oh, one other thing you can do Single Player is you can play cooperatively single player online. If anyone sees me online in Xbox Live I'm "verylost" and I'm happy to play if the family is asleep.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Satellite Dishes attached to the roof.

As most of you are aware, I have been riding my bike to and from work. I find it a good way to get some fresh air and it is far cheaper on the wallet than driving. In fact, it takes me less time to ride the ye‘old bike than to drive the truck. But, that is a conversation for later.

So, there is not much to do while in my travels, so I look at the various houses that I pass and noticed a trend. Satellite Dishes mounted to the roof. Not in the side of the house or flashing (like mine when I had Satellite), but in (through) the shingles.

Does this seem like a good idea???

Shingles move, not much, but they still move. What happens when those holes become wider from wear and tear. Can we say ROT?

Get Cable! Then you will not need to even lose sleep about having a bunch of holes in your roof. OR if you do not want to get cable, it is not that much harder and looks even nicer if you mount the satellite dish into the flashing hanging down from the roof.

Monday, September 17, 2007

I Broke My Laptop...

It was a warm Friday afternoon around 3-ish and I was humoring the notion of dual booting my laptop with Vista. But, first, I have to partion my drive to make space... So, on a mission to find a disk partioning tool, such as Partion Magic. I ask my fellow colleagues for such a disk... And there is my first issue. "Hey Dude, do you have something I can partion my drive with?" Well here is a disk that may work, but I am not sure. TO his credit, he did have a disclaimer on the cd. I boot to CD and check out this version of Bart PE. Naaaa. Nothing that will solve my dilemma. So...

I Reboot...

Unable to load Operating System... Are you kidding???? I did not do anything!!! Reboot again... Nothing....

NNNNNNNnnnnnnOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You hear from the other side of the room.. "You have your data backed up to the network, right???" Uh.. Network??? Yeah.. no...

So, I am rebuilding my laptop with XP and Vista. Why? Why not..

Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Directions on Exporting and Importing from Excel to Outlook

Importing an Excel List into Outlook Contacts

You only need to do this if you already have the email typed into an Excel Spreadsheet. If you have the addresses written down but haven't already typed them into something, go to my directions on how to add Contacts in Outlook and start there. If you have an Excel Spreadsheet set up, then read on.

  1. Right click on the Import Spreadsheet Template and choose Save Target As and save it somewhere on your hard drive.
  2. Open the spreadsheet that you have already created.
  3. Open the Import Spreadsheet Template that you just saved.
  4. Copy the column of names from your spreadsheet and paste them into the Import Spreadsheet Template. If you didn't separate the names in your spreadsheet into first and last columns, then just copy the one column and paste it into the LastName column.
  5. Copy the email addresses from your spreadsheet
  6. Paste them into the template in column BE (that's way over there!) If you have two email addresses for some students, the second address can be pasted into column BG on the template.
  7. Save the template spreadsheet.
  8. Then save it again following these directions.
    • File
    • Save as
    • Click on Save as Type and choose Text (Tab delimited) (*.txt0
    • Name it and save.
    • Say yes to the message that pops up asking you about format
    • Then close the spreadsheets. (It will ask you about saving again. You can say no.)
  9. Now you are ready to bring it into Outlook
  10. Open Outlook and click on Contacts. (You can set up a separate folder to keep the parent email from getting mixed in with the other.)
  11. Choose File
  12. Then Import and Export
  13. In the new window that opens, choose Import from another program or file
  14. Click Next
  15. Scroll all the way down to Tab Separated Values (Windows)
  16. Click Next
  17. Browse to find the .txt file where you saved it in step 8
  18. Click Next
  19. Select Contacts (or the folder in Contacts that you set up if you used a folder)
  20. Click Next
  21. Click the Map Custom Fields button
  22. When you see the new window scroll down to find EmailAddress under Value and scroll down the Field side to find E-mail and click on the + to expand
  23. If you don't see EmailAddress under Mapped from next to E-mail Address then drag it from the Value window to the Field window where it is in the window. Do this for E-mail, E-mail 2, and E-mail 3.
  24. Click OK
  25. Click Finish
  26. Now you should be able to go into your Contacts and find the new addresses.

Exporting a Contact List from Outlook

Once you have all the email addresses in your Contacts, you may want to share those with the other teachers on your team. Here is how you would do that.

  1. Open Outlook and go to Contacts
  2. Click File
  3. Select Import and Export
  4. Select Export to a file
  5. Click Next
  6. Scroll down to the bottom and choose Tab Separated Values (Windows)
  7. Click Next
  8. Select Contacts (or the contacts folder you want to export)
  9. Click Next
  10. Browse to find where you want to save the file and name it with a .txt extension
  11. Click Next
  12. Follow steps 21, 22, and 23 above.
  13. Click Finish
  14. Now you are ready to follow the Importing directions above on your team teacher's computer.



Monday, September 03, 2007

Putting a signature on your email

If you would like to add an autosignature to all of your email messages (like the one I have below) follow these simple steps:

· Open Outlook
· Choose Tools
· Then Options
· Select the Mail Format tab at the top of the window.
· Click the Signature Picker button at the bottom
· Choose New
· Next
· Type in the signature that you want to show up in your email
· Then Finish, OK and OK again.

You might want to send yourself an email as a practice run to see if it shows up and looks the way you want it to. You can always go back in and edit it.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Keyboard Shortcuts

This week's tip is for those of us who like shortcuts. Here is a list of Keyboard Shortcuts. These are things you can do by clicking the mouse a few times, or you can do them quickly with a couple of key strokes. Some of you may not find them useful, if not, keep on doing it the way you've been doing it! I've tried to put the ones I use most often at the top of the list.

Windows Program Key Combinations
CTRL+A: Select all the items in the current window
CTRL+C: Copy
CTRL+X: Cut
CTRL+V: Paste
CTRL+Z: Undo
CTRL+B: Bold
CTRL+U: Underline
CTRL+I: Italic
CTRL+SHIFT+>: Makes the font larger
CTRL+SHIFT+<: Makes the font smaller
CTRL+ESC: Open Start menu
ALT+TAB: Switch between open programs
ALT+F4: Quit program
SHIFT+DELETE: Delete item permanently

Dialog Box Keyboard Commands
TAB: Move to the next field in the dialog box
SHIFT+TAB: Move to the previous field in the dialog box
SPACEBAR: If the current field is a button, this clicks the button. If the current field is a check box, this toggles the check box. If the current field is an option, this selects the option.
ENTER: Equivalent to clicking the selected button (the button with the outline)
ESC: Equivalent to clicking the Cancel button
ALT+underlined letter in dialog box item: Move to the corresponding item

To Copy a File
Press and hold down the CTRL key while you drag the file to another folder.

To Create a Shortcut
Press and hold down CTRL+SHIFT while you drag a file to the desktop or a folder.

General Folder/Shortcut Control
SHIFT+click+Close button: For folders, close the current folder plus all parent folders

General Keyboard-Only Commands
F10: Activates menu bar options
SHIFT+F10 Opens a shortcut menu for the selected item (this is the same as right-clicking an object)
ALT+DOWN ARROW: Opens a drop-down list box
SHIFT: Press and hold down the SHIFT key while you insert a CD-ROM to bypass the automatic-run feature
ALT+underlined letter in menu: Opens the menu

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Computer Bios Script (bios.vbs)

Here is a quick little script that will display both the manufacturer and serial of your computer. You can easily add in a variable to create a list of ALL of the machines in your environment. Say... from AD.... :P

On Error Resume Next
strComputer = "."
Set objWMIService = GetObject("winmgmts:\\" & strComputer & "\root\cimv2")
Set colItems = objWMIService.ExecQuery("Select * from Win32_BIOS",,48)
For Each objItem in colItems
Wscript.Echo "Manufacturer: " & objItem.Manufacturer
Wscript.Echo "SerialNumber: " & objItem.SerialNumber

Next

Auto Accept Agent for Exchange

Here is a neat thing that you can implement for your resource mailboxes. This service will create an Auto Accept Agent on your Exchange Server. This service can send an email to your end user as a confirmation of the acceptance or denial of the booking of the resource.

Once you setup the Auto Except Service on your Exchange Server, here is the script that you will need to use in order to register your resource.

cscript RegisterMailbox.vbs {/m:mailbox@domain.com | /f:file.txt} [/t:domain\AgentAccountName] [/u] [/DEBUG]

Where:
/m
The primary SMTP address of the mailbox that you want to register. Use this switch when registering or unregistering a single mailbox.
/f
The name of the text file that contains the primary SMTP addresses of the mailboxes that you want to register. Use this switch when registering or unregistering multiple mailboxes. You must create the text file before using this script. This switch cannot be used with the /m switch.

Note
If the text file is not located in the same folder as the RegisterMailbox.vbs script, you must provide the full path to the location of your text file.

/t
Specifies the account that will be granted full mailbox access. This is typically the domain account that the Auto Accept Agent is running as on the local server. The account must be provided as domain\accountname. If Auto Accept Agent is running as Local System, you do not need to specify this switch unless you want to grant permissions to a domain account that you can use to monitor the resource mailboxes, which is necessary for the MailboxStatus.vbs script described later in this chapter.
/u
Attempts to remove the mailbox binding. Additionally, this switch also attempts to remove full mailbox access for the Auto Accept Agent account specified in the /t switch.
/DEBUG
Outputs verbose debug information you can use to diagnose issues.

For example, if you were using a file named Mailboxes.txt to register multiple mailboxes, where the Agent's security context is example\AgentAccount, you might type the following at the command prompt:
C:\>cscript RegisterMailbox.vbs /f:Mailboxes.txt /t:example\AgentAccount

For more information see: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb124104.aspx

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Cisco IOS Commands

Recently I have been working on some Cisco equipment. Here are some commands that I found to be really useful.


Find the MAC from an IP address
Show ip arp (ip address)

Find the port number associated with the MAC address:
Show mac-address-table address (MAC Address)

Adding a Virtual LAN (VLAN) or Changing the VLAN on a port:
Once you are in configuration mode and set your interface or range of interfaces – All you have to do is..
Switchport access vlan (number)

But, My most used command is:
Show interface status – This will give you a summary of all the ports, descriptions (if present), connected/notconnected, and speed…



I think that I will need to start studying for that CCNA…

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Files that are older than 45 days old.

Here is a script for all those file server administrators. This script will find all files that are "created" more than 45 days ago and then delete them. I generally export the results to a text file for review, but that is totally up to you.

'This script is to find and then delete any files that are older than 45 days old
'Version 1.0

Set fso = CreateObject ("Scripting.FileSystemObject")

If WScript.Arguments.Count = 0 then
RecurseDirectory "."
Else
RecurseDirectory WScript.Arguments.Item(0)
End If

Sub Recursedirectory(strDir)
Set refFolder = fso.GetFolder(strDir)


'Process files in directory
For Each refFile in refFolder.Files
if cDate(refFile.DateCreated) <= now()-45 then
refFile.Delete


end if
Next

Then Recurse down directory tree
For Each refSubFolder in refFolder.SubFolders
RecurseDirectory refSubFolder.Path
if refSubFolder.Files.Count = 0 then
refSubFolder.Delete
End If
Next
end sub


'cscript //nologo 45days.vbs >> 45day.csv

Thursday, July 26, 2007

It's A Sin!



Cruxshadows Remix

Monday, July 16, 2007

Words to live by...

Tao of S

1. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me either. Just pretty much leave me the hell alone.
2. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and leaky tire.
3. It's always darkest before dawn. So if you're going to steal your neighbor's newspaper, that's the time to do it.
4. Don't be irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.
5. Always remember that you're unique. Just like everyone else.
6. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.
7. If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments.
8. Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.
9. If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.
10. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.
11. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
12. If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.
13. Some days you're the bug; some days you're the windshield.
14. Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.
15. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.
16. A closed mouth gathers no foot.
17. Duct tape is like 'The Force'. It has a light side and a dark side, and it holds the universe together.
18. There are two theories to arguing with women. Neither one works.
19. Generally speaking, you aren't learning much when your lips are moving.
20. Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.
21. Never miss a good chance to shut up.
22. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night

Friday, July 06, 2007

Here comes the rain again - the cruxshadows

Just for you Trav...


Cruxshadows singing "Here comes the rain again" by the
Euthrymics





Enjoy!

Hemophage, Vampirism, Folklore

Vampires have always been a common theme in society. We see it in our movies, books, and even in games.

Movies:
We all should remember a movie with Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves called Bram Stroker’s Dracula. (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103874/) I absolutely love this movie (and book). For those who have not seen it, I would highly recommend renting it or even buying it. You should be able to find it in the bargain bin, it is that old. But, very very good. Another movie that I saw that had its roots in Vampirism was called Ultraviolet (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103874/), with the yummy Milla Jovovich. Let’s just say that she was the only reason for me to continue watching this poorly directed waste of film.

Games:
Two games that I really enjoy playing is Bloodlines for the PC (obviously a Vampire game) and Oblivion for the X360. I have posted on Bloodlines before, so I will not go into it again. (http://steves-rant.blogspot.com/2006/03/vampire-bloodlines.html) In the game Oblivion, you can contract a disease called Hemophage. Basically, it turns you into a Vampire. Which I do have to say has some very cool benefits. Increase in strength, agility, and the ability to disappear (once per day), just to name a few. However, there is a couple of drawbacks. Sunlight is an issue, but there is a way around that. AND Every couple of days, you have to feed. This proves to be more difficult as time goes on. Oh.. And the Vampire Hunters kind of get in the way.

Music:
As you have previously read, I found a group that I really enjoy called Cruxshadows. Well, I found another group that is “almost” as good, Blutengel. As I was listening to several of their songs, I found a common theme – Vampirism. When I watched a couple of videos, it all make sense – look at the teeth… So, here is one of their songs… Not the best, but themed well.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

At least these people don't walk among us any more!!!

I received this from a co-worker this morning and had to post... I nearly fell out of my chair..as tears run down my face...




EIGHTH PLACE:

In Detroit , a 41-year-old man got stuck and drowned in two feet of water after squeezing head first through an 18-inch-wide sewer grate to retrieve his car keys.



SEVENTH PLACE

49-year-old San Francisco stockbroker, who "totally zoned when he ran," accidentally jogged off a 100-foot high cliff on his daily run.



SIXTH PLACE :

Buxton , NC : A man died on a beach when an 8-foot-deep hole he had dug into the sand caved in as he sat inside it. Beach-goers said Daniel Jones,
21, dug the hole for fun, or protection from the wind, and had been sitting in a beach chair at the bottom Thursday afternoon when it collapsed, burying him beneath 5 feet of sand. People on the beach, on the outer banks, used their hands and shovels, trying to claw their way to Jones, a resident of Woodbridge, VA, but could not reach him. It took rescue workers using heavy equipment almost an hour to free him while about 200 people looked on. Jones was pronounced dead at a hospital.



FIFTH Place :

Santiago Alvarado, 24, was killed in Lompoc, as he fell face-first through the ceiling of a bicycle shop he was burglarizing. Death was caused when the long flashlight he had placed in his mouth (to keep his hands free) rammed into the base of his skull as he hit the floor.



FOURTH Place :

Sylvester Briddell, Jr., 26, was killed in Selbyville , Del , as he won a bet with friends who said he would not put a revolver loaded with four bullets into his mouth and pull the trigger. As Ron White often says: " You can't fix stupid." These people prove it is a terminal condition. As always, competition this year has been keen.



THIRD PLACE :

The following mind-boggling attempt at a crime spree in Washington , DC appeared to be the robber's first (and last), due to his lack of a previous record of violence, and his terminally stupid choices:1. His target was H&J Leather &Firearms; A gun shop specializing in handguns.2. The shop was full of customers - firearms customers.3. To enter the shop, the robber had to step around a marked police patrol car parked at the front door.4. A uniformed officer was standing at the counter, having coffee before work.



Upon seeing the officer, the would-be robber announced a hold-up, and fired a few wild shots from a target pistol. The officer and a clerk promptly returned fire, the police officer with a 9mm GLOCK 17, the clerk with a 50 DESERT EAGLE, assisted by several customers who also drew their guns, several of whom also drew and fired. The robber was pronounced dead at the scene by Paramedics. Crime scene investigators located 47 expended cartridge cases in the shop. The subsequent autopsy revealed 23 gunshot wounds. Ballistics identified rounds from 7 different weapons. No one else was hurt in the exchange of fire.



HONORABLE MENTION:

Paul Stiller, 47, was hospitalized in Andover township, NJ, and his wife Bonnie was also injured, when a quarter-stick of dynamite blew up in their car. While driving around at 2 AM, the bored couple lit the dynamite and tried to toss it out the window to see what would happen, but apparently failed to notice the window was closed.



RUNNER UP:

TACOMA , WA . Kerry Bingham had been drinking with several friends when one of them said they knew a person who had bungee-jumped from the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in the middle of traffic. The conversation grew more heated and at least 10 men trooped along the walkway of the bridge at 4:30 AM. Upon arrival at the midpoint of the bridge they discovered that no one had brought a bungee rope. Bingham, who had continued drinking, volunteered and pointed out that a coil of lineman's cable lay near by. One end of the cable was secured around Bingham's leg and the other end was tied to the bridge. His fall lasted 40 feet before the cable tightened and tore his foot off at the ankle. He miraculously survived his fall into the icy salt water and was rescued by two nearby fishermen. "All I can say" said Bingham, "is that God was watching out for me on that night. There's just no other explanation for it." Bingham' s foot was never located.



AND THE WINNER..

Overzealous zookeeper Friedrich Riesfeldt (Paderborn, Germany) fed his constipated elephant Stefan 22 doses of animal laxative and more than a bushel of berries, figs and prunes before the plugged- up pachyderm finally let it fly, and suffocated the keeper under 200 pounds of poop!



Investigators say ill-fated Friedrich, 46, was attempting to give the ailing elephant an olive oil enema when the relieved beast unloaded on him. "The sheer force of the elephant's unexpected defecation knocked Mr. Riesfeldt to the ground where he struck his head on a rock and lay unconscious as the elephant continued to evacuate his bowels on top of him" said flabbergasted Paderborn police detective Erik Dern. With no one there to help him, he lay under all that dung for at least an hour before a watchman came along, and during that time he suffocated. It seems to be just one of those freak accidents that proves...



YOU CAN'T FIX STUPID...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Cruxshadows

I was in the car with a friend going to lunch and heard this song on the player... Caught my interest, so I had to ask. "Dude, who are we listening to?" Cruxshadows was the reply...

Interesting... A blend of new wave, gothic and electronica. Check them out.. Here is their "Official Website" http://www.cruxshadows.com/frame.html

Or my favorite video... Winterborn - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVNjx4k8mWk

Monday, June 11, 2007

Managing Your Email

I was talking with a friend this weekend about email and how people use it. Yes, I was bitching… So, here are a few tips that he and I came up with for people to manage their email.

Touch Each Message Only Once
Begin by instantly turning every message into an action. Drag the message either to the To-Do Bar or to the Calendar to make it part of your work. Dragging messages to either place creates a new item containing the text of the e-mail.

Second, delete it! Remove processed items from your Inbox after they're in the To-Do Bar or the Calendar. The best choice is to delete items. If you can't give up your attachment to past messages, move them to an archive folder where they won't distract you.

Need More Than 2 Minutes? Drag The Message To The To-Do Bar
If you have a group or various groups of people who may need to see and act on messages, keep track of them using contact categories. When you need to delegate tasks, you can address a single e-mail to all of the contacts in a single category by dragging that category to the Inbox

Automate Repetitive Tasks
In striving to touch each message only once, you may become aware that you send the same message repeatedly to many different people. The Quick Parts feature can help in that quest. Just select the text you want to use as a Quick Part, click the Quick Parts button under the Insert tab and choose Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery. To use a Quick Part, simply choose Quick Part and pick your message from the Gallery.

Don't Repeat Yourself; Address Everyone At Once
Organize your actions each day by dragging items from the To-Do Bar to the bottom of your daily calendar. This allows you to achieve balance between scheduled appointments and ongoing work. If you can do what a message requires in less than 2 minutes, just do it.

Try not to use BCC
If you are going to blind carbon copy someone, Don’t! After you send the original email to the person, use Forward to send the information to the other individual. This will also allow you to put in additional comments.

Do you really need to Reply to All
I don’t know how many times I have seen this. A message goes out to everyone one in the company or building about something important, like “your lights are on”. And someone hits the “reply to all”… Then the flood gates are open. So, ask yourself this question, Does all these people care about what I am about to send?

Friday, June 01, 2007

How would you like to see this…

I was looking at the headlines this morning and saw “80-core Processor”…???....??? After wiping the drool from my chin, I read further.

"Intel has built its 80-core processor as part of a research project, but don't expect it on your desktop any time soon. The company's CTO, Justin Rattner, held a demonstration of the chip for a group of reports last week. Intel will be presenting a paper on the project at the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week. 'The chip is capable of producing 1 trillion floating-point operations per second, known as a teraflop. That's a level of performance that required 2,500 square feet of large computers a decade ago. Intel first disclosed it had built a prototype 80-core processor during last fall's Intel Developer Forum, when CEO Paul Otellini promised to deliver the chip within five years.'" -slashdot

Now, I just have to wait 5 years for it… That is okay though, it would probably take me 5 years of saving my pennies to afford this beefy of a machine.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Something that we all need for the office


I was looking at the headlines on my Google homepage and noticed this one.. “USB AirSoft turret mows down unsuspecting office mates” Well, I had to read that…

“Where else but the good ole US of A would we revel in crafting items that not only utilized that oh-so-lonely USB port on the rear of your leased laptop, but had the potential to "deliver welts" to unsuspecting co-workers? While the pre-packaged USB missile launchers are quite the novel desk adornment, this DIY job seriously brings the heat (and the pain). While the modder responsible here envisions a more robust, costly, and dangerous version in the future, his 1.0 edition features a $19 electronic AirSoft gun, the turret base from an aforementioned USB missile launcher, super glue, and the usual compliment of assembly tools. After disassembling the launcher and tapping into its base, a bit of fancy wire work is required to affix the more powerful AirSoft gun to the rotating turret. A few more screws and finagling, and you're all set to demolish the fun at your annual holiday bash, all for just around $70 and a few hours of your time. So if you couldn't handle boot camp, but still have a passion for mechanical sentries, be sure to hit the read link for the full skinny.” http://www.engadget.com/2006/12/11/usb-airsoft-turret-mows-down-unsuspecting-office-mates/


Another More Powerfull turret.
http://www.engadget.com/2007/01/16/airsoft-project-2-0-touts-four-times-the-firepower/



I have two computers to hook up that would me more than able to use this kind of firepower.


Do you want to steal my lunch?


Do you feel lucky?


Well, Do ya'...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Annoucements

It looks like Halo 3 has a firm release date – September 25th. Could be a GOOD Birthday Present … Collectors Edition - Please!

Corillian is now CheckFree. I will have to see what happened to my stock.

Microsoft announced that Vista will be the last 32-bit operating system that Microsoft will be shipping. The end of an era…

Google searching just got that much better. Google has expanded its search capabilities to more than just WebPages. “The change means users will also get results from news sites, blogs, video services and other relevant places.”

Monday, May 14, 2007

How To: Find a Users Memberships

Ever get those questions from people - "What groups does Jane belong to?" or "We have a new person to our group. Can you set them up the same way as Jane?"

Well, here is a quick way to get a list of memberships for a specific user.

dsget user "CN=Smith\, Jane,OU=Users,OU=Domain,DC=Company,DC=com" -memberof >>c:\temp\users.txt

I am sure that you can do this for a lot of people, but I will let you figure that part out. :P

Friday, May 11, 2007

Game Review: Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

A friend at work started talking to me about this game, so I had to try it out. So, I went on Ebay and managed to pick it up for $30 bucks. Even though it is an older game, it is still $60 dollars at Best Buy. So, I thought that thirty was a good deal.


Step into the most richly detailed and vibrant game world ever created. The Elder Scrolls® IV: Oblivion™ is the latest chapter in the epic and highly successful saga from Bethesda Softworks.
Oblivion is the sequel to the best-selling, award-winning role-playing game (RPG)
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind®, named 2002 RPG and Game of the Year for Xbox®. Oblivion is another leap forward in role-playing with its combination of freeform gameplay and cutting-edge graphics. - XBox

I found it a little difficult to change my mind set from my days of D&D rules (yes, I played D&D) to the way Oblivion manages classes, races and experience. Well, there is no experience points, like you would remember from D&D. It is all done by skills and the use of those skills. For example, If you want to increase your strength, you can use hand-to-hand combat or another skill to increase this attribute. Plus, there are bonuses that you can acquire. If you use a minor skill, like hand-to-hand (for my character it is a minor skill) and increase that skill 10 times, you will get a +5 bonus to strength when you level up. Remember, the more strength you have, the more you can carry. Classes don’t really exist. You can favor one skill more than another, but you can be an Archer, Fighter, Mage, Thief, Assassin, Conjurer, illusionist, etc, as long as you increase those skills. There are several races that you can be, each with their own special abilities. There is also birth signs that may give you pluses in your abilities or even a special skill, like invisibility.

The only thing that I do not like about the game is that it scales based on your level. So, if you are 5th level all opponents that you come across are scaled down or up based on your character. I would like to see things a bit more static, like in D&D. There are just some places that you just do go to, otherwise you are going to be handed your head on a platter. This also means that as you get higher in level, a bandit may have leather armor (when you are at a low level) to a bandit with iron platemail and a bad-ass enchanted sword.

There is a main quest, that you can choose to do or not. There are also many many many side quests. The game is totally open ended and you can check anything out, especially in a marketplace store, just don’t get caught.

I am really enjoying the game……

…as an assassin

Monday, May 07, 2007

HIPAA / HIPAA Penalties

I was asked a couple of questions regarding my post Security - Making information secure. What is HIPAA? And Is a HIPAA violation that serious?

So, here is a good definition of what HIPA.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1996. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) website,
Title II of HIPAA, the Administrative Simplification (AS) provisions, requires the establishment of national standards for electronic health care transactions and national identifiers for providers, health insurance plans, and employers.
The provision also address the security and privacy of health data. The standards are meant to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the nation's health care system by encouraging the widespread use of electronic data interchange in the US health care system. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HIPAA)

violation penalties (HIPAA)
42 USC 1320d-6 (HIPAA Sec. 1177) contains the criminal penalties for violating the HIPAA privacy standards. It states:
"a. Offense.—
A person who is in violation of this part—
1. uses or causes to be used a unique health identifier;
2. obtains individually identifiable health information relating to an individual; or
3. discloses individually identifiable health information to another person,
shall be punished as provided in subsection (b).
b. Penalties.—
A person described in subsection (a) shall—
1. be fined not more than $50,000, imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both;
2. if the offense is committed under false pretenses, be fined not more than $100,000, imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both; and
3. if the offense is committed with intent to sell, transfer, or use individually identifiable health information for commercial advantage, personal gain, or malicious harm, be fined not more than $250,000, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both."

So… Do you think that they are serious??? By the way, that is per incident – 2.9 million incidents.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

By Request: alt codes

I recieve a blog request for alt codes. So, here you go...

For those who do not know what alt codes are, they are additional characters or symbols that you can utilize in passwords or keys. They also can be used if you are in an application like Word and need to insert a copyright or restricted symbol or if you need to use British Pounds, instead of Dollars. You use alt codes by holding down the Alt key and typing in a four digit combination. Below are a few that you can try:

Alt-0163 £
Alt-0169 ©
Alt-0165 ¥
Alt-0187 »
For a full list, I found this website that had a good character map. http://www.frontpagewizard.com/use_alt_keys.asp

Happy Alt Coding…

-Thanks for the request

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Security - Making information secure

Working in the Information Technology field, I believe that security should be a primary concern. Unfortunately, from previous experience, this is a secondary or byproduct for most of the management staff and bean-counters. (Security costs Money!) Here is a prime example of why security should be a concern for any company.

On April 10th, “A disk containing the names, birth dates and Social Security numbers of 2.9 million Medicaid and children's health care recipients is missing, Georgia health officials said Tuesday. The state said the security breach was reported by Affiliated Computer Services, a private vendor. ACS did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment. The Georgia Department of Community Health said it was requiring the Dallas-based company to notify everyone affected and to offer free credit reports. The children's health care program involved in the data loss is called PeachCare. Officials said the information, also including addresses, went back four years and included some people who are no longer on the rolls. State officials said they had notified the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Governor's Office of Consumer Affairs and the state Attorney General.”
http://apnews1.iwon.com/article/20070410/D8ODQBSG0.html

They better hope that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) or Health Care Financial Administration (HCFA) does not show up on your doorstep because of a HIPAA violation OR ACS may cease to exist. These people will personally take your birthday away, financially bankrupt you, and then throw you into jail – just to add insult to injury.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Disneyland !!!

This past week Liz and I took the girls (and Nai Nai) to Disneyland. We stayed off-site at a Disney Good Neighbor hotel, the Carousel. It was nice, free breakfast, which the girls enjoyed. They had a pool on the roof, which the girls liked to use after a long day of play at the park. And it had the added bonus of being across the street from Disneyland, literally. It was very convenient to go back to the hotel during the day to drop off packages or if the girls needed a nap.

Disneyland was lots of fun! The first day we arrived, we spent most of the time in fantasyland. The Carousel was the first ride the girls wanted to start the adventure. Zuzu attached herself to daddy for most of the trip and her and I were a team. Mommy and Allie were another team, with Nai Nai going between the two of us. Most of the time, the girls were wanting to do the same thing, but there were times that we had to split. We hit Dumbo, Peter Pan, Cassie’s train ride, and the carousel (over and over). While we were there we all did most of kiddy rides in both parks. Once Allie discovered the Buzz Lightyear ride in Tommorowland, that was her favorite. While Zuzu’s was Monster’s Inc, which was in California Adventure. We tried to split the time evenly, but I think that we spent most of our time in Disneyland. But, Zuzu did get to ride her ride 5 or 6 times. (Always Watching...) The one ride that I did not think that the girls would like was Haunted Manson. Allie liked it, but does not want to go on it again. (It was pretend, Dad!) Zuzu did not like it at all, but held it together really well. I, personally, did not want her to go on it, but she was pitching a fit that her sister was going on it. So, we went… I told her “no cry” and she did not. They were all really good kids. They tried everything, even if they did not like it, they did not act out or cry.

If you ever go, with girls, you have to go to Ariel’s Grotto. This is a restaurant inside California Adventure where you get to have 1:1 time with all of the princesses. Not bad food. And the girls LOVED IT!!! We met my sister and her husband there, so we all got to hang out, eat, and enjoy the girls. I think that this was the highlight for Allie, she got to meet Ariel. It is all about that mermaid… They got to take pictures with most of the normal characters, sign autographs, give hugs..etc..

After the girls went to bed, Liz and I went out and played. We did Pirates (twice), which they changed – very cool, Indiana Jones, Star Tours, Big Thunder Railroad, and the Matterhorn. Space Mountain was closed when we wanted to go on it. But, I heard that they changed it also, so no great loss there. The Matterhorn was really bumpy and jerky for being on a metal track. Plus, I swear, they slowed it down. It really was not very fun at all. I love pirates and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Pirates was changed, but still a great ride and the changes were really well done. Jack Sparrow was his flamboyant self and looked really good. It still is very P.C. with the whole Bride Auction and the women chasing the pirates with rolling pins and stuff. Not as I remember it when I was younger.

Getting home was kind of a cluster. We spent about 3 hours on the ground in Orange County due to a problem with the airplane. Of course we were already boarded, cant discover these things at the gate, what are you thinking. So, we had to get on to another plane, by this time the girls were not happy. Allie did not go to sleep at all on the plane, she was too amped up. So, we did not get home until about midnight. (And no.. the girls did not sleep in – 6:30am)

All in all, good trip and we all had a good time.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Outlook 2007 patch addresses performance issues

Post from Greg Hughes Blog:
Microsoft on Friday released a patch for Outlook 2007 that addressed a number of performance issues (described in KB933493). Complaints of sluggishness have been circulating since before the product was formally released, typically where large OST (offline folders used for synchronization) and PST (personal folders typically used for archiving) files are involved.

From Computerworld:
The 8.3 MB update should accelerate the download of messages from the Exchange e-mail server and reduce temporary freezes resulting from deleting messages or copying them from one folder to another, according to Jessica Arnold, Outlook’s program manager.
The update should also let Outlook 2007 users switch between messages faster and enable faster program startup, she said.

I have installed it and I have not noticed anything, but I also run with a delay and caching enabled on my laptop...

AccountLockout.vbs

Const UF_LOCKOUT = &H0010

Dim DomainName
Dim UserName
Dim Answer

DomainName = InputBox("Enter the name of the Domain?")
UserName = InputBox("Enter the User Name?")

set objUser = GetObject("WinNT://" & DomainName & "/" & UserName & ",User")

===> cUserFlags = objUser.Get("UserFlags")


If(cUserFlags And UF_LOCKOUT) Then
WScript.Echo UserName & "'s account is locked!"
Answer = InputBox("Would you like to unlock this account? (Y/N)")
If Answer ="Y" Then

===> objUser.Put "UserFlags" , cUserFlags Xor UF_LOCKOUT

objUser.SetInfo
WScript.Echo UserName & "'s account is unlocked."
Else
WScript.Echo UserName & "'s account will remian locked."
End If
Else
WScript.Echo UserName & "'s account is ok!"
End If

Monday, April 02, 2007

Google internet service for FREE!!!

Well, it looks like Google is coming out with a high-speed internet service. And it is FREE!!! I may be changing from my Comcast / Verizon Fios Services to Google’s Fiber Service. I just have to convince the wife that it is a good idea.

“Sick of paying for broadband that you have to, well, pay for?
Introducing Google TiSP (BETA), our new FREE in-home wireless broadband service. Sign up today and we'll send you your TiSP self-installation kit, which includes setup guide, fiber-optic cable, spindle, wireless router and installation CD.”
http://www.google.com/tisp/

- Happy April Fools

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Mail Enable a User using a script

Another Script - This one is to mail-enable a user using a vbs script. With very little work, you could use this to mail-enable a list of users... but, I will leave that up to you.


MailboxEnableUser.vbs

UserDN = "CN=cn-name,OU=OU-name,DC=company,DC=com"
MBoxDN = "CN=Mailbox Store (Server),CN=First Storage Group,CN=Store,CN=ServerName,CN=Servers,CN=First Administrative Group,CN=Administrative Groups,CN=Domain,CN=Microsoft Exchange,CN=Services,CN=Configuration,DC=Company,DC=Com"

'Set objUser = GetObject("LDAP://" & UserDN)
Set objMailboxStore = GetObject("LDAP://" & UserDN)
objMailboxStore.CreateMailbox MboxDN

Monday, March 26, 2007

Display accounts with a Mismatch between their AG and LegacyDN

Here is another script that you can run to display all of the accounts that have a mis-match between their Exchange AG and the Legacy ExchangeDN. (Yes, The Legacy ExchangeDN is still used - Thanks MSFT!!!)


'-------------------------------------------------------------------------------'
' Displays accounts with mis-matched Adminitrative groups vs. legacyExchangeDN. '
'-------------------------------------------------------------------------------'
Option Explicit

Const ADS_PROPERTY_CLEAR = 1

Dim defaultNamingContext
Dim legacyExchangeDN, homeMDB, AdsPath, sAMAccountName
Dim AdConn, AdComm, AdRS, AdQuery
Dim Fix, objUser

If WScript.Arguments.Count = 1 then
If UCase(WScript.Arguments.Item(0)) = "-F" Or UCase(WScript.Arguments.Item(0)) = "/F" then
Fix = True
End If
Else
Fix = False
End If

defaultNamingContext = GetObject("LDAP://RootDSE").Get("defaultNamingContext")
AdQuery = "SELECT legacyExchangeDN, homeMDB, AdsPath, sAMAccountName " & _
"FROM 'LDAP://" & defaultNamingContext & "' " & _
"WHERE objectCategory='Person' " & _
"AND objectClass='User' " & _
"AND legacyExchangeDN='*' " & _
"AND homeMDB='*'"

Set AdConn = CreateObject("ADODB.Connection") ' Get an ADO connection object
AdConn.Provider = "ADsDSOObject" ' Set provider name
AdConn.Open "Active Directory Provider" ' open connection

Set AdComm = CreateObject("ADODB.Command") ' Get an ADO command object
AdComm.ActiveConnection = AdConn ' Tell command object about connection
AdComm.Properties("SearchScope") = 2 ' we want to search everything
AdComm.Properties("Page Size") = 100 ' and we want our records in lots of 500

AdComm.CommandText = AdQuery ' Set the ADO CommandText
Set AdRS = AdComm.Execute ' and run the query.

On Error Resume Next
With AdRs
AdRS.MoveFirst ' Go to 1st record in the set
While Not .EOF ' Read 'em until they're gone
legacyExchangeDN = .Fields("legacyExchangeDN")
homeMDB = .Fields("homeMDB")
AdsPath = .Fields("AdsPath")
sAMAccountName = .Fields("sAMAccountName")
legacyExchangeDN = Mid(legacyExchangeDN,2)
legacyExchangeDN = Mid(legacyExchangeDN,InStr(legacyExchangeDN,"/")+1)
legacyExchangeDN = Mid(legacyExchangeDN,InStr(legacyExchangeDN,"=")+1)
legacyExchangeDN = Mid(legacyExchangeDN,1,InStr(legacyExchangeDN,"/")-1)
homeMDB = Mid(homeMDB,InStr(homeMDB,"CN=Servers,CN=")+14)
homeMDB = Mid(homeMDB,1,InStr(homeMDB,"CN=Admin")-2)
If UCase(homeMDB) <> UCase(legacyExchangeDN) then
If Fix then
Err.Clear
Set objUser = GetObject(AdsPath)
objUser.PutEx ADS_PROPERTY_CLEAR, "legacyExchangeDN", vbNullString
objUser.SetInfo
If Err then
WScript.Echo "Error " & Hex(Err.Number) & " clearing legacyExchangeDN for " & AdsPath
Err.Clear
Else
WScript.Echo "legacyExchangeDN cleared for " & AdsPath & " " & legacyExchageDN & "<>" & homeMDB
End If
Set objUser = Nothing
Else
WScript.Echo legacyExchangeDN & "," & homeMDB & ",""" & AdsPath & """"
End If
End If
.MoveNext
Wend
End With

Set AdRs = Nothing
Set AdComm = Nothing
Set AdConn = Nothing

Saturday, March 24, 2007

SAM Account Name attribute to the name attribute

'------------------------------------------------------------------------------'
' Compares the sAMAccountName attribute to the name attribute and displays '
' mismatches. '
'------------------------------------------------------------------------------
'
Option Explicit

Dim defaultNamingContext
Dim AdQuery
Dim AdsPath, sAMAccountName, cn
Dim AdConn, AdComm, AdRS

defaultNamingContext = GetObject("LDAP://RootDSE").Get("defaultNamingContext")

AdQuery = "SELECT cn, sAMAccountName " & _
"FROM 'LDAP://" &amp; defaultNamingContext & "' " & _
"WHERE objectCategory='group'"

Set AdConn = CreateObject("ADODB.Connection")
AdConn.Provider = "ADsDSOObject"
AdConn.Open "Active Directory Provider"

Set AdComm = CreateObject("ADODB.Command")
AdComm.ActiveConnection = AdConn
AdComm.Properties("SearchScope") = 2
AdComm.Properties("Page Size") = 1000

AdComm.CommandText = AdQuery
Set AdRS = AdComm.Execute

WScript.Echo "sAMAccountName,cn"
With AdRs
While Not .EOF
sAMAccountName = .Fields("sAMAccountName")
cn = .Fields("cn")
If UCase(sAMAccountName) <> UCase(cn) then
WScript.Echo sAMAccountName & "," & cn
End If
.MoveNext
Wend
End With

Set AdRs = Nothing
Set AdComm = Nothing
Set AdConn = Nothing

Friday, March 23, 2007

Report Last Logon

Ever want to have a database of the last logons in your environment? Well, here is a little vbs script that will do just that!

Option Explicit

Const adOpenKeyset = 1
Const adLockOptimistic = 3

' LastLogon table in LastLogon database:
' user_account varchar 50
' lastDC varchar 50
' lastlogon_time datetime 8
' insert_time datetime 8

Dim sqlConn, sqlComm, sqlProvider, sqlRS
Dim user_account, lastDC, lastlogon_time, insert_time

sqlProvider = "Server=***servername***;Database=LastLogon;Trusted_Connection=yes;"

Set sqlConn = CreateObject("ADODB.Connection")
sqlConn.Provider = "sqloledb"
sqlConn.Open sqlProvider

Set sqlRS = CreateObject("ADODB.Recordset")
sqlRS.ActiveConnection = sqlConn
sqlRS.CursorType = adOpenKeyset
sqlRS.LockType = adLockOptimistic
sqlRS.Source = "SELECT DISTINCT user_account, lastDC, lastlogon_time, insert_Time " & _
"FROM LastLogon " & _
"ORDER BY user_account"
sqlRS.Open

While (Not sqlRS.EOF)
user_account = sqlRS.Fields("user_account")
lastDC = sqlRS.Fields("lastDC")
lastlogon_time = sqlRS.Fields("lastlogon_time")
insert_time = sqlRS.Fields("insert_time")
WScript.Echo user_account & " " & lastlogon_time & " " & lastDC
sqlRS.MoveNext
Wend

sqlRS.Close
sqlConn.Close

Thursday, March 22, 2007

How To: List the Members of a Group

How many times have you been asked – “Who is a member of this group?” or “Can I have a list of members of this group?”

Well, I have.. a lot! Generally, it is a security group, where only an Admin can see the members or a person has a list of groups. So, here is an easy way to get that information.

for /f "tokens=* usebackq" %i in (`adfind -default -list -f "name=domain admins" member`) do @adfind -b "%i" -s base -list mail

The output will look like

Sam@somewhere.com
Bob@somewhere.com
John@somewhere.com

Then you can just pipe it to a text file (>>admins.txt).. then ship that off to whoever wants it. You can find the adfind tool from Joe Ware (http://www.joeware.net/freetools/index.htm).

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Vista Tips and Tricks

I have only been running Vista on a test machine for about a month or so. So far, I am not impressed. It looks “cutesy” and is not compatible with most of the software that I use in my day to day operations. So, I will not be upgrading anytime in the foreseable future. However, here are a few tricks that I have discovered to make this OS more manageable.

  1. If you hate the look of Aero, click Start/Control Panel/Themes and you can choose a non-Aero theme, such as Windows Classic.
  2. If, for some reason, the Vista installation gets interrupted due to an unintentional shutdown or reboot, start the computer without booting the Vista DVD. Windows Vista's installer should pick up where it left off. If it doesn't, then restart the installation over from scratch.
  3. When you perform a search with Vista's new, instant search feature, you can save the search in a special folder. This powerful feature allows you to create a virtual folder which, by default, is saved in your \\Searches\ folder. Every time you open such a folder, the search results are updated.
  4. In Windows Vista, you can add additional clocks to the system tray. Click the clock, and then click Date and Time Settings. Click the Additional Clocks tab. You can add one or two additional clocks to the tray and select their time zones.
  5. If you upgrade your graphics card in preparation for Windows Vista, be sure to get a new card with as much local memory as possible. Since Windows Vista renders everything—even the desktop and windows them-selves—as 3D surfaces, local 3D memory greatly improves performance...sometimes even more than a more powerful GPU.
  6. Several applications are available to help you tweak Windows Vista for maximum performance. They in-clude TweakVI (www.totalidea.com), TweakVista (www.tweakvista.com/tweakvistautility), and VistaBootPRO (www.vistabootpro.org). And don't forget about Windows ReadyBoost, which lets you use a removable flash memory drive to boost system memory

Office 2007 runs faster than what I was expecting and DO go in and change the power settings beneath the High Performance, this will help out a lot. I do find that the requirements are still a little steep and it really shows if you do not have enough resources to through at Vista. It will just sit there and laugh at you – “Is this all you got??? Game on!”

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Another Sign of Stupidity.

Okay. So, I am one of those people who finds fault with the stupidity of the general populace. I realize that no one is perfect, including me... But, this one I have to call out for being really STUPID!!! Here the background of the situation.

I was driving to work this morning, not feeling really well. So, I was taking it kind of easy, not rushing, and in the slow lane. Now, on this 4 lane road, it gets really busy, since it is a main artery though Beaverton.. So, there is a lot of cars on this road and I am rather boxed in. I saw that a Fire truck was coming up from behind, lights on and siren blaring. I mean it has to be loud for me to hear it over my stereo. So, I pulled over into the bike line and put on my blinker. Others did the same, making a hole right down the center. But this one Jackass, in a gold Lexus, decided that he was too self important to get out of the way of a 10 ton Fire Truck. He decided to angle his car into both of the lanes, causing the Fire Truck to dodge over into the oncoming traffic lanes. I know it was a long time ago that I had to take the driver’s test, but I thought it was a law that you had to get the way of an emergency vehicle.

If it was me… I would have totaled that little Lexis and then had the police officer give this self-important ass a ticket for not getting out of my way…but, that is just me.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Xbox 360: Dead Rising Review

I have not really done a full review on a 360 game, but I felt this one needed to be rated - Dead Rising for the XBox 360. I rented this game, since I was given a gift card for Christmas and this was one of the games that I was thinking about buying. I am sure glad that I did not actually spend my own money on this game.

You are playing a photojournalist that has a "hot tip" of something strange going on in this small town. You fly over snapping pictures of some really strange shit. People attacking other people, trying to fly off of a building (no so well), and burning from an exploding gas station. You land on top of the mall, where you begin the actual game.

Throughout the game, you try to find out what the hell is going on and how did these zombies get here??? There are mini missions, surrounded around the main objective, mostly search and rescue people that are stranded inside this mall. Oh, yeah, and take pictures to document what is going on.

The AI is truly STUPID!!! You gather people for them to follow you. But, they do not help, they just stand there, while you are trying to make your way to a door or inside a hallway. I had to constantly go back and help get the zombies off the person I was trying to rescue. I did have this one “kid” try and help, he had a gun, was not sure how to use it, but he sure had fun shooting me in the back!!! Not helping there son!

The graphics and effects were really quite good. The zombies were oozing and dripping with blood. There was a lot of blood on the floor, especially when you get to hit them with an electric guitar or saw them in half with a chainsaw.

That brings me to weapons. Everything that you can think of could be used as a weapon. Some were less effective than others. I mean, what is a cardboard box going to do to a mindless zombie, besides piss it off.

The only redeeming value I found was killing zombies. Much like Doom, it is a hack and slash game, if that is all you are looking for… KILLING!!!

Bottom line, Don’t waste your time or your money! It is not worth the price I paid for it..

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Computer Tech Support

This ought to make you feel better about your computer skills! If you skip any, you have to read the last one! Unbelievable, but supposedly all true!!!!

1. Tech support: What kind of computer do you have?
Female customer: A white one...

2. Customer: Hi, this is Celine. I can't get my diskette out.
Tech support: Have you tried pushing the Button?
Customer: Yes, sure, it's really stuck.
Tech support: That doesn't sound good; I'll make a note.
Customer: No, wait a minute... I hadn't inserted it yet... it's still on my desk... sorry....

3. Tech support: Click on the 'my computer' icon on to the left of the screen.
Customer: Your left or my left?

4. Tech support: Good day. How may I help you?
Male customer: Hello... I can't print.
Tech support: Would you click on "start" for me and...
Customer: Listen pal; don't start getting technical on me! I'm not Bill Gates.

5. Customer: Hi, good afternoon, this is Martha, I can't print. Every time I try, it says 'Can't find printer'. I've even lifted the printer and placed it in front of the monitor, but the computer still says he can't find it...

6. Customer: I have problems printing in red...
Tech support: Do you have a color printer?
Customer: Aaaah....................thank you.

7. Tech support: What's on your monitor now, ma'am?
Customer: A teddy bear my boyfriend bought for me at the 7-11.

8. Customer: My keyboard is not working anymore.
Tech support: Are you sure it's plugged into the computer?
Customer: No. I can't get behind the computer.
Tech support: Pick up your keyboard and walk 10 paces back
Customer:! OK
Tech support: Did the keyboard come with you?
Customer: Yes
Tech support: That means the keyboard is not plugged in. Is there another keyboard?
Customer: Yes, there's another one here. Ah...that one does work...

9. Tech support: Your password is the small letter "a" as in apple, a capital letter V as in Victor, the number 7.
Customer: Is that 7 in capital letters?

10. Customer: can't get on the Internet.
Tech support: Are you sure you used the right password?
Customer: Yes, I'm sure. I saw my colleague do it.
Tech support: Can you tell me what the password was?
Customer: Five stars.

11. Tech support: What anti-virus program do you use?
Customer: Netscape.
Tech support: That's not an anti-virus program.
Customer: Oh, sorry...Internet Explorer.

12. Customer: I have a huge problem. A friend has placed a screen saver on my computer, but every time I move the mouse, it disappears.

13. Tech support: How may I help you?
Customer: I'm writing my first e-mail.
Tech support: OK, and what seems to be the problem?
Customer: Well, I have the letter 'a' in the address, but how do I get the circle around it?

14. A woman customer called the Canon help desk with a problem with her printer.
Tech support: Are you running it under windows?
Customer: "No, my desk is next to the door, but that is a good point. The man sitting in the cubicle next to me is under a window, and his printer is working fine."

And last but not least...

15. Tech support: "Okay Bob, let's press the control and escape keys at the same time. That brings up a task list in the middle of the screen. Now type the letter "P" to bring up the Program Manager"
Customer: I don't have a P.
Tech support: On your keyboard, Bob.
Customer: What do you mean?
Tech support: "P".....on your keyboard, Bob.
Customer: I'M NOT GOING TO DO THAT!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A response to a post on Slashdot.

Ars Technica's Opposable Thumbs blog takes a look at the numbers for last year, and makes an interesting observation: hardcore gamers are probably not the future. Specifically, last year's videogame sales numbers show a huge trend in the adoption of mass-market licensed games. We've also previously discussed the extreme popularity of casual games. Despite Gears of War selling around the same amount as Cars (both around 2 million units), the cost in time and money to create Gears was substantially greater than the cost to create the Pixar-licensed title. The result?

"As growth continues, we're bound to see some substantial changes. As it stands, hardcore gamers are still a pivotal purchasing force in the games market: most of the top ten titles were what I would consider "hardcore" games. However, the trend away from the hardcore and towards the casual is becoming increasingly more predominant. We've talked quite a bit lately about the growing demand and response for casual games, and when coupled with the shocking sales of licensed products, I'm left wondering whether or not the number of hardcore gamers is dwindling."
- http://games.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/02/13/1754223&from=rss

After reading this from Slashdot, I began to question where I fit in the whole gaming world. I used to consider myself as a hard-core gamer, but not these days. Yes, my blood begins to teem when I hear news on Halo 3… But… Let’s take a look at when I play a game…

I get home after a full day of work, no time there to play games, and just plain tired... Now that I have kids, I can not play a game like Gears of War when the kids are awake. It is a totally gory, head smashing, blood-curdling game that is really not appropriate for the young to play, let-alone watch. So, I have to save that until after the kids go to bed. Besides, when I get home, the girls want to play with Daddy and not have Daddy play Xbox and ignore them. Weekends are shot, there is always something going on with the girls. And then there is the “Honey-do” list. I don’t know about the rest of you, but my wife gets really irritated if I neglect the chores and just play Xbox. So, keep the wife happy, (and me from sleeping on the couch) - do the list…

Then there is the money aspect. At $60 a pop… That is a lot of coin to shell out on a game that may or may not be any good. Yes, there are a few games that I am waiting to come down in price before I buy. Games like Rainbow Six, Need for Speed, and Call of Duty 3. However, I am not going to spend $60 on a game like Cars. That is just not going to happen. Besides, at the rate of games coming out for the Xbox 360, it seems like there is a new game every month. Lots of $$$ going out!

So, let’s recap… When do I get to play games? That would be when the kids are not awake and assuming that there is no “Honey-do”s to do. Not much time at all.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

A little project…

Liz and I decided that we could not take the toilet leaking in the bathroom any more. So, we took out the toilet and noticed that the floor is a bit spongy. When we surveyed the damage, it was far greater than first expected. I am not too proud not to ask for help, so I enlisted my friend Kieth to help. Here is a guy that, more or less, rebuilt his house. This guy came in, while Liz, the girls, and I were at swimming class, did all of the demolition work. I mean shut of the water, took out the floor, sub-floor and sink, all by himself. “What a guy!” Now, I should mention that the beams are not 12” or 18” from center, they are 4 feet from center. So, we have to reinforce the new section of floor that we are putting in. So, after several broken drill bits and stripped screws later, Keith managed to put in 2 cross beams. He also took time on his way home after work on several nights to stop by and do additional work on the floor. He is a real friend!

Last night, I put one more cross section, with only one more to go. Doing it by yourself sucks, but it is manageable. I did have to break out the small laser leveler and another drill bit. :p There is still one more beam that needs to go in, before the floor can be put on top. It is slow going, but going to be nice when it is all done. I think that Liz has finally decided on fixtures at this point and color scheme.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Comtastic!

It is now official… I am a permanent Comcast employee. With my initial 90 day new hire probation period over, all of my benefits are starting to kick in. Well, except for the 401K and the TV/Phone/Internet package. They allow all new hires to enjoy the Comcast entertainment experience, no matter when you were hired.

I finally hooked up the internet service to my desktop yesterday, leaving the wifi on the Fios. I do have to say that I really enjoy the speeds of cable. I have always knocked it, since it is a shared connection. BUT, I do have to say that I was wrong. Most of the time I get a full 6 megs and (get this), if I am downloading a big file it will burst to 12 megs. That is 2.4 times the speed that I got from my previous Verizon Fios connection. (http://www.comcast.net/powerboost)

The whole family is enjoying the whole “ON Demand” feature of the Comcast TV service. This is where you can play movies for free any time you want. It seems that every month there is a new feature set. They provided the Star Wars series in HD, Harry Potter, as well as, all of the James Bonds. There are a bunch of kids channels that are also On Demand. Allie loves Sagwa and D-D-D-Doria. She is really cute… She says “Daddy, can I have Demanding Doria or Demanding Sagwa?” It is really cute… The take home message is that any TV in the house, regardless if it is hooked up to the DVR, will play any movie that is “On Demand”. Very Very Cool!!

As far as the cost, reliability, and features, I would have to say that Comcast wins out over my previous Satellite Provider. I have had no issues with getting signal from either provider, so that is not really a factor. It just comes down to cost and features… Comcast is far better than Direct TV for me and my family.

- And I am not just saying that as a Comcast Employee.. For those who know me, I don’t hold back if something truly sucks, I will let you know!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Microsoft Office Communicator experience on your BlackBerry device

This is new!!! Well, new to me.. :P
As you already know, I really love and hate my blackberry. It is a great little device that I can send/receive email, check appointments, call people, change people’s AD information (through another app), and communicate with other blackberry users. Well, it is even better… Now, I can instant message all corporate users right from my Blackberry.

How is this possible???

RIM has made an add-on to integrate with your Corporate LCS server. I really enjoy having this functionality of being able to see if someone is on-line without breaking out the laptop. I find that it is far easier to use and more reliable than the blackberry communicator. (Yes, I still use both) I find that the battery does not last as long, not that this is a surprise to anyone. Also, I am not sure how I like the BB taking over my LCS connection, even if I am signed into LCS from my laptop. I understand that you only can have one connection at a time, but I find that the BB is constantly taking over and signing me out on my laptop.

It is very cool and a must see. For more information… Here is the web address: http://www.blackberry.com/products/blackberry/im/windows_im.shtml

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Response to my complaint

Yes, I sent the email stating how disappointed I am with Verizon’s Customer Service. So, I get an email stating that my secure email response is ready to be viewed on the Verizon.com website. Okay. So, I go and attempt to log into the Verizon.com website. It states that I do not have an account and need to contact customer service. So, spending even more time on hold, I talk to a very nice lady who states that since I discontinued my voice service, I will no longer be able to log into the Verizon.com website. So.. Let me get this straight… I have a secure email from Verizon that I can not view… She was very helpful.. She was actually able to log into the system and forward the email to my Verizon email account.

So, Here is the response to my email:

Dear S,

Thank you for contacting Verizon ePay. We are in receipt of your email dated 01/10/07 regarding charges on your account. We will be happy to assist you.

We apologize for the experience you had.

We apologize for the inconvenience of having you call one of our centers. You may contact our Billing Department directly at 1-800-483-3000 between the hours of 8:00AM and 6:00PM, Monday through Friday. A representative will be happy to assist you.

We understand your concern and appreciate your business. However, it is not that we are unwilling to help, we are just unable to help you with this.

We appreciate you using the Verizon Contact Us Page to address your issue through email. Always remember, the Verizon Contact Us Page is available 24/7 for you to contact us through email on any questions, issues or concerns you might have with your account.

You can also make a payment 24 hours a day 7 days a week at Verizon.com or by calling our Pay by Phone System at 1-800-345-6563. Verizon payment options include:

Verizon.com
Pay by Phone (Vendor Charge of $3.50)
Direct Bank Account Debit
Verizon Plus Store
Authorized Agent (May Charge Up to $1.00)
Mail

Thank you for using Verizon. We appreciate your business.


Sincerely,

WHAT??? Did you even bother to read the email??? Are you KIDDING !!!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Disappointment with Verizon

As you know, I have Verizon’s Fios service for my ISP. In fact, I have both Verizon and Comcast for my internet. I am just trying to figure out how to dual-hom cheaply, but that is something that I will tackle when I have time. I enjoy having a dedicated 5meg pipe, through Verizon, directly to my computer to play games and the other uses of the internet. -wink-wink-

HOWEVER, their customer service lacks A LOT!!!

Background,
On November 27th, Comcast installed cable for the TV and Phone. A few days later, I received my normal bill for the phone and Fios service. So, I call… Spending a little time on hold… I talk to a very nice lady, explaining that I canceled the service as of the 27th. She makes the notes and then transfers me to someone else, who tells me to ignore the bill and wait until I get a final bill. I explain that I do not want to interrupt my Fios service, so I want to pay for that portion. That night, I received an email on my Verizon account that states that they need a credit card, since they don’t want to send me a bill for anything less than $50 dollars. Okay.. Whatever… So, I put in my Credit Card information and am charged for my Fios service. So, I threw away the check and bill. Then on Monday, I get a bill for $37.69, making up $34.95 of internet service + $1.31 late fee + $1.43 unknown. (I really like the fact that Verizon charges me a late fee after telling me not to pay the bill. I even like it better that Verizon charges my credit card and then charges me a late fee.) So, I call and talk to a service representative who talked around me and told me that all of the charges were part of the Fios billing and I needed to talk to them. There was no outstanding balance as for the phone service. This morning, Wednesday, I called and talked to a gentleman who told me that it was part of the Fios and Phone services. He could not answer for me a simple question – Where did the $1.43 come from??? I got more and more frustrated that he was first stating that it was long distance charges. When I stated that I did not have any long distant charges, he talked around the topic. Then, to add insult to injury, he said that if I did not stop trying to talk over him, he was going to terminate the call. So, I asked my question again. Finally, I just gave up. I told him to write this down for the record, which still holds true today. “I have been a Verizon Customer for a long time and I have been happy with the Fios service. However, the complete lack of Customer Service makes me an Extremely Pissed Off Customer. The shear fact that I have to call many many many times in order to get an explanation and then told conflicting information shows how utterly useless and incompetent the staff really is.