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Monday, January 14, 2013 #

Cisco VPN has been a standard my company has used for quite some time. Although there are other VPN tools out there that you can finesse to work with Cisco client profiles and protocols, this article relates to continuing to use Cisco VPN Client 5.x.

 

Almost every install I have done has yielded an adapter error. It turns out this is caused by nothing more than a description in the registry for the VPN adapter. Not a driver issue, not an NDIS issue, not a TCP stack issue.

 

The key that is the culprit is:

HKLM/SYstem/CurrentControlSet/Services/CVirtA/DisplayName

 

The value for this key will list an oem file a comma, a text description, and thus is where the problem lies. Simply edit this key, and remove everything but the text description of Cisco Systems VPN Adapter. Close the registry editor and walla, you are done!

 

image


Tuesday, September 25, 2012 #

Ever since Windows 2000, I have always had the need to replicate data to multiple endpoints with the same content. Until DFS was introduced, the method of thinking was to either manually copy the data location by location, or to batch script it with xcopy and schedule a task. Even though this worked (and still does today), it was cumbersome, and intensive on the network, especially when dealing with larger amounts of data.

Then along came robocopy, as an internal tool written by an enterprising programmer at Microsoft. We used it quite a bit, especially when we could not use DFS in the early days. It was received so well, it made it into the public realm. At least now we could have the ability to determine what files had changed and only replicate those.

Well, over time there has been evolution of this ideal. DFS is obviously the Windows enterprise class service to do this, along with BrancheCache..however you don’t always need or want the power of DFS, especially when it comes to small datacenter installations, or remote offices.

I have specific data sets that are on closed or restricted networks, that either have a security need for this, or are in remote countries where bandwidth is a premium. FOr this, I use the latest evolution for one off replication names Synctoy. Synctoy is from Microsoft, seemingly released in 2009, that wraps a nice GUI around setting up a paired set of folders (remember the mobile briefcase from Windows 98?), and allowing you the choice of synchronization methods. 1 way, or 2 way. Simply create a paired set of folders on the source and destination, choose your options for content, exclude any file types you don’t want to replicate, and click run. Scheduling is even easier. MS has included a wrapper for doing just this so all you enter in your task schedule in the SynToyCMD.exe, a –R as an argument, and the time schedule. No more complicated command lines or scripts.

 

I find this especially useful when I use MS backup to back up a system volume, but only want subsets of backup information of a data share and ONLY when that dataset has changed. Not relying on full backups and incremental. An example of this is my application installation master share. I back this up with SyncToy because I do not need multiple backup copies..one copy elsewhere suffices to back it up.

At home, very useful for your pictures, videos, music, ect..the backup is online and ready to access, not waiting for you to restore a backup file, and no need to institute a domain simply to have DFS.'

 

Do note there is a risk..if you accidently delete a file and do not catch this before the next sync, then depending on your SyncToy settings, you can indeed lose that file as the destination updates..so due diligence applies. I make it a rule to sync manly one way…I use my master share for making changes, and allow the schedule to follow suit. Any real important file I lock down as read only through file permissions so it cannot be deleted unless I intervene.

 

Check out the tool and have some fun!

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?DisplayLang=en&id=15155


Thursday, September 6, 2012 #

Although I am a big fan of using PowerShell to do many of my server operations, that aspect is well covered by those far more knowledgeable than I, and there is vast information around the web already on that.

The new Metro interface, and getting around both Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 though is relatively new, even for those whop ran the previews.

What is this? A blank Desktop!

Screen Shot 2012-09-06 at 4.51.14 AM

 


Where did the start button go?

Well, it is still there...sort of. It is hidden, and acts like an auto hidden component that appear only when the mouse is hovered over the lower left corner of the screen. Those familiar with Gnome or OSX can relate this to the "Hot Corners" functions. To get to the start button, hover your mouse in the very left corner of the task bar. Let it sit there a moment, and a small blue square with colored tiles in it called start will appear. Click it.

I clicked it and now I have all the tiles..What is this?

Screen Shot 2012-09-06 at 4.51.44 AM

 

Welcome to the Metro interface. This is a much more modern look, and although at first seems weird and cumbersome, I have actually found that it is a bit more extensible, allowing greater organization and customization than the older explorer desktop. If you look closely, you'll see each box represents either a program, or program group.

First, a few basics about using the start view. First and foremost, a right mouse click will bring up a bar on the bottom, with an icon towards the right. Notice it is titled “All Apps”.

An even easier way in many places is to hover your mouse in the exact opposite corner, in the upper right. A sidebar will open and expose what used to be a widget bar (remember Vista?), and there are options for Search, Start, and Settings.

Screen Shot 2012-09-06 at 4.58.18 AM

 

Ok Great, but where is everything?

It’s all there…Click the All Apps icon.

Screen Shot 2012-09-06 at 5.05.02 AM

 


Look better? Notice the scroll bar at the bottom. Move it right..your desktop is sized to your content..so you can have a smaller, or larger amount of programs exposed. Each icon can be secondary clicked (right mouse click for most of us, and an options bar at the bottom, rather than the old small context menu, is opened with some very familiar options.

Screen Shot 2012-09-06 at 5.07.37 AM

 

Notice the top of the Windows Explorer window has some new features. You still have your right mouse click functions, but since the shortcuts for these items already exist..just copy them. There are many ways, but here is a long way to show you more of the interface.

Screen Shot 2012-09-06 at 5.10.25 AM


1. Right mouse click a program icon, and select the Open File Location option.
2. Trusty file manager opens…but if you look closely up at top edge of the window, you’ll see a nifty enhancement. An orange colored box that is titled Shortcut Tools and another lavender box Title Application tools. Each of these adds options at the top of the file manager window to make selection easy. Of course, you can still secondary click an item in the listing window too.
3. Click shortcut tools, right click your app shortcut and copy it. Then simply paste it into the desktop outside the File Explorer window

Screen Shot 2012-09-06 at 5.17.08 AM


Also note some of the newer features. The large icons up top below the menu that has many common operations. The options change as you select each menu item.

Screen Shot 2012-09-06 at 5.17.22 AM

Screen Shot 2012-09-06 at 5.20.04 AM

Well, that’s it for this installment. I hope this helps you out.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012 #

After almost 30 years of being a sr. engineer and architect, I finally got myself into a project where another person was not being allowed to travel far from home and family to be boots on the ground. This was my baby, accounts for major impact for my companies bottom line (over 10% of gross earnings), and I know more about this than anyone else in the company. Great..who didn't I train well enough!!

So although I seem to complain, it is finally my turn to leave my world behind for a month and go abroad..very abroad...from Nashville, TN to Manila. I have been to Canada many times, Mexico once or twice...hell, I even spent a day in the Cayman's, but nothing compared to this real adventure. This is alot more than just a social visit as a toruist....I need to work, live, and enact with an entirely diffent culture, living by their rules, in another world where everything I know to survive may or may not have any bearing. Besides basic survavle instincts.

Now many seasoned travellers may be laughing at my comments, and bless them, they too felt this at one point or another. So this post is geared towards my adventure ( or mis-adventure, you be the judge) of one soulful geeks adventure into a time and place known, as the Philippines!

Day 1 - Touchdown

After 21 hours of traveling, we finally made it to Manila. It's 10:30 at night and we have to get our bags, get through immigration, then get through customs. I mentally have prepared myself for a madhouse experience. I was told LOTS of people, and just cram up with them or they will cut in front of you. It's also they way they drive, but, I will get to that in another post!

So my compadre and I get over to immigration and....its 3 people deep....huh? 10 minutes later I am through immigration and head to get my bag..which was waiting for me.

I turn toward the exit and see the customs desks....and there is No Line. An agent waves me over, I present my paperwork, they sign it and boom I'm in country! That was easy!

Over to the waiting area to meet our driver..but....they anticipate hours before we clear customs..not 20 minutes from exiting the plane to out the door! We find an official agent for our service ( you have to make sure you are not being solicited by a private person), and 20 minutes later our hotel transport is whisking us away!

Now that was easy by any definition....and from what other travelers at the hotel tell me, VERY rare.

So the lesson here is be prepared for the worst and then everything can be a pleasant and awesome experience.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Manila, Philippines


Friday, September 30, 2011 #

Over the past eight years I have been trying to make the switch to Apple from a PC for knowledge and education. I still feel Mac OS X is severely lacking when it comes to actual business or server computing needs, but as a home platform for base operations to the laymen it is a viable option. Recently I upgraded may Apple hardware to a new I 7 Macbook Pro from my Dual Core Mac mini. Boy has this turned out to be a less than just merely frustrating experience. For all the Apple fanatics who claim you spend the 500% more money for the Apple experience, I say your brainwashed and on crack. Here's why. My Macbook, while looking slick and comfortable to use, functions like a piece of garbage. Apple, InÊ their infinite wisdom has still not developed a satisfactory QA program. AS the responsible entity for the hardware and software, I find having hardware issues that are directly the cause of a firmware update as outrageous. The latest EFI firmware update has broken my ability to put the machine to sleep and recover it into service, as well causes a failure to boot from a complete shutdown 87% of the time. I called Apple support on this as after all I just recently spent $1600.00 on a laptop spec I could buy from anyone else for $399.00. Again,Ê if I am going to endorse or denounce a product, it will be from experience and not the pettiness associated with a brand simply because they align with my moral (or immoral) compass. Apple validated they are aware of the problem, and that they had no fix; that I would have to just wait. Now having been a PC guy for 30 years, I remember when the Apple fanatics would scream even though OEM's would not follow the program or SDK specifications for development, blaming Microsoft. I remember granola tree hugging junkies stating their morals as scientific fact about how apple's just work; and also touting how Mac OS X is impervious to viruses (completely false and inaccurate). Well, the systems are buggy as hell. Using native apps the Apple crashes more than my W7 PC's ever do....buggy support updates that break my system are allowed and offered up as par for the course, and the condition I am experiencing has been ongoing for at least 5 years if you search the Apple forums. Such a shame for some otherwise very nice hardware to use. Even the OS has improved greatly allowingÊ me to do some productivity (as long I supplement it with vitalization) to at least use it for my life and not just playing around. There, I said it and ranted from experience and disappointment. As a consumer I am outraged at spending so much money for a system that does not work as promised! Oh, and lets not forget I have to pay an extra 250 bucks for support beyond 90 days, thus adding to an otherwise overpriced option.

Monday, August 1, 2011 #

Well, since I am a bit new to this blogging thing, and especially tech blogging, I will start out with something light (and known around the web here and there). A simple fix for Outlook 2010 users still hampered an an Exchange 2003 system.

It seems Outlook 2010 and Exchange 2003 have a small problem with booking resources on a meeting request. Even though Outlook says it is booked, the resource is not updated on the server….so, here's the fix.

 

You edit the registry.

 

start regedit and browse to:

 

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Outlook\Options\Calendar

Add a dword. Name it “EnableDirectBooking”, assign it a value of “1”.

 

Restart Outlook 2010 and your in business!