Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Text Select cursor disappears in VM

I helped a co-worker with this one today...

Problem: When running XP in VM Player or VM Server on VISTA, the mouse pointer disappears anytime it's placed over a word doc or text field.

Solution: Change the mouse pointer icon that is used for Text Select.

Go to Control Panel / Mouse / Pointers (tab), scroll down and highlight Text Select and click Browse.

Now choose a different icon to be used for text selection.

I suspect that it's related to the VM screen resolution and that the default I-Beam is too thin within the VM.

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Step By Step: How to Use Custom Windows Visual Styles

If you've gotten tired of the drab gray or blue XP theme, take a look at what you're missing. A few steps will allow you to use 'non-microsoft' XP themes.

Step By Step: How to Use Custom Windows Visual Styles

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Universal Imaging Utility Error: U02099

We use this great Universal Imaging Utility at work called UiU by BigBang software. This is an application that when used in conjunction with your hard drive imaging software (i.e. Symantec Ghost, Altiris, ZenWorks, etc.) creates a disk image that can be successfully deployed to nearly any PC in your environment. A single Universal Image can now be deployed to desktops and laptops alike, regardless of HAL type, processor, PC make or model. Maintaining individual images for PCs from Dell, HP, IBM, etc. is no longer required. .

In short, it saves a massive driver database to the harddrive and then syspreps it for you. Once it shuts down you then use your favorite image utility to capture the 'universal image' that can be used on other pcs.

Today I had an error U02099 when attempting to run in on my latest 'base' image. Searches revealed nothing so I tried a few things and it turns out that the computer you are working on should have internet access when running the UiU process.

I simply plugged it into our ISP direct circuit and it's running as normal.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Beam pics from camera to computer with Eye-Fi 2GB SD card, $59 shipped | The Cheapskate - CNET News

Beam pics from camera to computer with Eye-Fi 2GB SD card, $59 shipped | The Cheapskate - CNET News: "By now you've probably heard of Eye-Fi, the Wi-Fi-enabled SD memory card that wirelessly beams photos from your camera to your PC. When it first came out last year, I thought it was overpriced at $99--but now you can scoop up an Eye-Fi Home card for just $59 shipped."

courtesy of cnet.com

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Monday, September 22, 2008

net-runna Vista Preparation Tool

I haven't had the joy of trying to create an 'image' of Vista for distribution within my organization yet... but the day is coming.

One thing I know so far is that the Vista boot record is "new" so you will no longer be able to use your old/trusty Ghost 8 and such without 'extra' work.

The tool below claims to make it easier, however, again i have not tested it yet. I'll let you know when I get there.

net-runna Vista Preparation Tool: "This utility will prepare your Windows Vista installation so that imaging tools such as net-runna Enterprise will be able to clone it. After using the Preparation tool on a Vista system, it should remain 'cloneable' from that point onwards."

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How to Build a Potato Gun - Design and Construction

I ran across this nice write up about how to make an excellent Potato Gun. Now i just have to convince the "Mrs." ;-)

How to Build a Potato Gun - Design and Construction - JBProjects.net

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Beautiful Beta: Super Peek-A-Boo Posts

Beautiful Beta: Super Peek-A-Boo Posts: "Super Peek-A-Boo posts: you can expand them from summary to full post, collapse them, and if you don't have a post summary in a particular post, the 'Read More...' and 'Collapse' links will not show up in your post."

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Intel 82567 Bart PE XPE network drivers

Problem: Latest Dell laptop with Intel 82567 network card will not recognize network card when Bart PE or XPE is loaded.

Information from this forum helped me get the correct drivers in the correct location.

Good luck!

Intel 82567 - The CD Forum

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

DualScreen Wallpaper

Here's a nice site to pick up some wallpaper that will look nice on those dual monitors of yours. I'm still working to figure out how to get one background image to span across both screens. I'll keep you posted...

DualScreen Wallpaper

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Mythbusting: Debunking Common Windows Performance Tweaking Myths

Seems like every day there is new software that claims to speed up your computer. Whether it's memory manager software, or registry cleaners, or ect...

The great lifehacker.com site put together a "Tweaking Myths" article that helps sort out the various 'tune up' techniques that are marketed and if they really make a difference.

Mythbusting: Debunking Common Windows Performance Tweaking Myths

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Please excuse the dust...

Please excuse the 'dust' as I work on the design of this blog...

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

How To Master Photoshop In Just One Week

I ran across this site that offer's online Photoshop courses for free. If you have either a desire to learn more about Photoshop techniques and some time, you might find it useful. I clicked through a few pages and will definitely go through it when I can find some extra time...

If you take the course, please come back and let me know what you think.

How To Master Photoshop In Just One Week

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Hack your blogger...

I'm a person who is always wondering... "How can I 'hack' this to get more??" I asked that question last night and found a nice 'wiki' that has different tricks you can do with your blogger blog.

Click the post heading and check it out...

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

speed.io - Internet DSL Speedtest

Internet Speed Tests seem to be a 'dime a dozen' these days. This one seems to be fairly thorough, requires no installation, and if it's true they have 50k different servers around the world, you're likely to get a fairly accurate result.

I recommend running at least 2 or 3 different speed test sites if you want an accurate measurement.

Speakeasy has had a speed test up for years and I like how they let you specify different server locations around the US.

http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/

speed.io - Internet DSL Speedtest

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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Maps 'n Trails - free maps for Garmin GPS, Tools and more

More free maps for a Garmin GPS. This site helps you find various free Garmin maps that people have created. It's a clean site with links to maps all over the world.

Maps 'n Trails - free maps for Garmin GPS, Tools and more

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AntennaWeb

Since we're talking about antennas... here is a site that will help you aim your TV antenna for best reception. Enter your address and it will tell you where the tv broadcast towers are for channels that serve your area. You'll still probibly have to do the "is that better?? How about now??, How about that??" game with someone to really dial in the best position for your antenna. However, it if some of your channels come from 'very' different locations, it helps to know why.

AntennaWeb

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AntennaSearch - Search for Cell Towers, Cell Reception, Hidden Antennas and more.

Ever wonder where the cell towers are around you?? Or, if you're like me, I already know the towers because I look for them, now I'm curious who's they are.

This site helps you answer those questions... It's not 'exhaustive' however, it's more than I knew before.

AntennaSearch - Search for Cell Towers, Cell Reception, Hidden Antennas and more.

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How can I tell which Domain Controller I am authenticating from a Windows XP workstation?

How can I tell which Domain Controller I am authenticating from a Windows XP workstation?:

Set objDomain = GetObject("LDAP://rootDSE")
strDC = objDomain.Get("dnsHostName")
Wscript.Echo "Authenticating domain controller: " & strDC

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Workstation Name Changer

Problem: I need a way to script a rename of a xp workstation. I need to be able to use alternate credentials, use the ASSET tag from BIOS as the name, AND I want it to update it's name in AD as well.

Solution: I found this very handy application that will take care of pulling up the ASSET tag and updating the computer name locally and in AD. I can even use alternate credentials in the command line so that the rename in Active Directory will take place even if the user logging in does not have the rights to make those changes.

The program is called WSName and can be found here http://mystuff.clarke.co.nz/MyStuff/wsname.asp If the site is down you can download the program from here. Click here for documentation.

So, my setup is set to use a random name during sysprep/mini setup and then I have a 'postscript.bat' file that runs during the first logon that calls the wsname.exe with appropriate variables.

The Result: During the first login the computers will retrieve their service tags from BIOS and rename the computer locally and in AD. It's a beautiful thing. ;-)

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Notes 8.0.1 on USB NOMAD mode

Here is a script that will allow you to install Lotus Notes 8.0.1 onto a USB drive and run it from there. It's called 'NOMAD' mode and this script just makes the 'setup.exe command line' easier to use.

Save the text to a plain text .bat file and when run it will prompt for your USB drive letter and when finished create some shortcuts in the root of your USB drive.

You will have to get the Lotus 8.0.1 install software from your local friendly IT administrators...



@echo off
cls
Echo.
Echo It is strongly recommended to install Lotus Notes to an encrypted partition on your thumbdrive. Please call the ISG Helpdesk with any questions.
Echo.
pause

cls
Echo.
Echo.
Echo Please enter your USB drive letter... (without :) and press ENTER
Echo.
set /p USBLETTER=*If you have an encrypted volume, please mount the volume first and use the volume drive letter. DRIVE=
::IF ERRORLEVEL=1 GOTO MENU

:INSTALL
\\(install file location)\setup.exe /a /v"NOMAD=1 TARGETDIR=%USBLETTER%:\ /qb+"

:SHORTCUTS
echo @echo off > %USBLETTER%:\RunNotes.bat
echo cd \program files\ibm\lotus\notes\ >> %USBLETTER%:\RunNotes.bat
echo start nlnotes.exe >> %USBLETTER%:\RunNotes.bat
echo exit >> %USBLETTER%:\RunNotes.bat

echo @echo off > %USBLETTER%:\RunNotesDesigner.bat
echo cd \program files\ibm\lotus\notes\ >> %USBLETTER%:\RunNotesDesigner.bat
echo start designer.exe >> %USBLETTER%:\RunNotesDesigner.bat
echo exit >> %USBLETTER%:\RunNotesDesigner.bat

:LASTTHING
echo.
echo.
echo Use the RunNotes.bat file to start notes from your USB.
echo HAVE FUN!!!
pause

:END

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VBS script to collect user names and service tag

Here is a script I put together that will prompt for a computer name or IP address and if it's connected, it will provide you the serial number (Dell's service tag) and the list of users who have logged onto that computer.



Save as plain text .vbs

DIM strComputer
strComputer = UserInput( "Please computer name OR IP address" )
Function UserInput( myPrompt )
UserInput = InputBox( myPrompt )
End Function

'ping host
IF Ping(strComputer) = False then
Wscript.Echo "Computer " & strComputer & " does not appear to be on the network at this time. Script will quit."
wscript.quit
else
end IF

Function Ping(strHost)

dim objPing, objRetStatus
set objPing = GetObject("winmgmts:{impersonationLevel=impersonate}").ExecQuery _
("select * from Win32_PingStatus where address = '" & strHost & "'")

for each objRetStatus in objPing
IF IsNull(objRetStatus.StatusCode) or objRetStatus.StatusCode<>0 then
Ping = False
'WScript.Echo "Status code is " & objRetStatus.StatusCode
else
Ping = True
WScript.Echo "IP: " & objRetStatus.ProtocolAddress
end IF
next
End Function

'access the WMI service on the remote machine
Set objWMIService = GetObject("winmgmts:" _
& "{impersonationLevel=impersonate}!\\" & strComputer & "\root\cimv2")

'return the BIOS serial number (aka service tag)
Set colBIOS = objWMIService.ExecQuery _
("Select * from Win32_BIOS")
For each objBIOS in colBIOS
Wscript.Echo "Serial Number: " & objBIOS.SerialNumber
Next


Set objWMIService = GetObject("winmgmts:" _
& "{impersonationLevel=impersonate}!\\" & strComputer & "\root\cimv2")

Set colItems = objWMIService.ExecQuery _
("Select * from Win32_NetworkLoginProfile")

For Each objItem in colItems
IF Len("Name: ") > 1 AND Left(objItem.Name, 5) = "WVUS\" Then
' Wscript.Echo "Full Name: " & objItem.FullName
Wscript.Echo "Name: " & objItem.Name
else
End if
Next

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ITSM Clear Cache .bat file

ITSM can be very picky about it's cache files and many times strange behavior or slowness can be helped by cleaning up the cache files. I just created the .bat file below to facilitate the process.

Create a new 'plain text' file, fill with text below and save as .bat

As with everything, use at your own risk and test it on a non-critical pc first.

continued...
@echo off
cls
Echo Hello %Username%, This will clear your ITSM Cache!
Echo Make sure your ITSM Client is not running!
Echo.
Echo (You will need to restart if you receive an
Echo error about a file or folder in use)
echo.
echo To cancel, close this window, otherwise
pause
cls

:::WINDOWS
::cd "C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v1.1.4322\Temporary ASP.NET Files"
::if exist servicemanagementweb RD servicemanagementweb /S /Q
::if exist servicemanagement RD servicemanagement /S /Q
::if exist selfserviceweb RD selfserviceweb /S /Q
::if exist servicemanagementcrystalreportviewers RD servicemanagementcrystalreportviewers /S /Q
::goto COMMON

:COMMON
cd "C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Local Settings\Application Data"
if exist IsolatedStorage RD IsolatedStorage /S /Q
if exist assembly RD assembly /S /Q
if exist fusioncache.dat del fusioncache.dat /Q
if exist gdipfontcachev1.dat del gdipfontcachev1.dat /Q
CD applicationHistory
if exist bpsettingutility.exe.83f57c14.ini del bpsettingutility.exe.83f57c14.ini /Q
if exist orion.apploader.exe.3d349ee9.ini del orion.apploader.exe.3d349ee9.ini /Q
if exist adminloader.exe.12f73640.ini del adminloader.exe.12f73640.ini /Q

:END
cd \
echo.
echo ITSM Cache Has Been Cleared!
echo.
Echo Press any key to exit.
pause>nul

Exit

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ITSM Surveys

One of my recent challenges was to setup Survey Notifications in Frontrange ITSM. It was a slow uphill battle but succeeded and will post my solution.

This text assumes that you are familiar with ITSM, Business Rules, Triggers, Quick Actions and Expressions.

Hope it helps!

THE GOAL: On incident close, send a survey notification that will contain a link to an external web site. The notification should be sent every 5th incident closure and only to user's with emails that end in worldvision.org or wvi.org. If the email is blank or the user closing the incident is not a member of the Helpdesk team, no survey should be sent.

continued...

SURVEY SETUP
1) Create a quick action that will generate a notification email as required.
2) Create an expression script that will be used to constrain as required above when these email notifications are sent.

import System
import Fusion

import Fusion.Api
class FusionScriptWrapper implements IScriptWrapper {
function FusionScriptWrapper()
{
// place constructor logic here
}
function Process(currentBusinessObject :
Fusion.Api.BusinessObject, currentField : Fusion.Api.Field) : Object
{
var objReturn : Object
objReturn = false;
//the following script will return a value of true if
//text in email field is greater than 1 AND
//text in email field ends with @worldvision.org AND
//incident ownerteam field = ISG Support AND
// Incidentnumber ends with 5 OR
// Incidentnumber ends with 1

if
(currentBusinessObject.GetField("Email").NativeValue.ToString().length > '1' &&
(currentBusinessObject.GetField("OwnerTeam").NativeValue == 'ISG Support' &&
(currentBusinessObject.GetField("Email").NativeValue.ToString().toLowerCase().Trim().EndsWith('@worldvision.org') ||
currentBusinessObject.GetField("Email").NativeValue.ToString().toLowerCase().Trim().EndsWith('@wvi.org')) &&
(currentBusinessObject.GetField('IncidentNumber').NativeValue.ToString().Trim().EndsWith('5') ||
currentBusinessObject.GetField('IncidentNumber').NativeValue.ToString().Trim().EndsWith('0'))))
{
objReturn = true;
}
return objReturn
}
}

3) Create a trigger that will watch for incident status changed to closed and use the expression that was created above.

4) Finally create a Business Rule that combines the trigger and the QA.

5) Test, test, test...


Extra credit...
~ADD SURVEY LAST SENT FIELD TO EMPLOYEE PROFILE TO LIMIT HOW OFTEN SURVEYS ARE SENT TO A SINGLE USER

create 3 fields in profile employee
1)SurveyLastSent Date / Time field, display date only
2)SurveyMinSince (filed will be calculated with date calculation)
3)SurveyDaysSince (field will be calculated with jscript expression)
import System
import Fusion
import Fusion.Api
class FusionScriptWrapper implements IScriptWrapper
{
function FusionScriptWrapper()
{
// place constructor logic here
}
function Process(curBizObj : Fusion.Api.BusinessObject, currentField : Fusion.Api.Field) : Object
{
var objReturn : Object
var surveyminsince;
var surveydayssince;
surveyminsince = curBizObj.GetField("SurveyMinSince").NativeValue;
surveydayssince = (surveyminsince / 1440);
objReturn = surveydayssince;
return objReturn;
}
}
4) Modify QA to update profile employee SurveyLastSent date field with current date time
5) Update SendISGSurveyjscript to return true only if SurveyDaySince>30
import System
import Fusion
import Fusion.Api
class FusionScriptWrapper implements IScriptWrapper {
function FusionScriptWrapper()
{
// place constructor logic here
}
function Process(currentBusinessObject :
Fusion.Api.BusinessObject, currentField : Fusion.Api.Field) : Object
{
var objReturn : Object
objReturn = false;
if
(currentBusinessObject.GetField("Email").NativeValue.ToString().length > '1' &&
(currentBusinessObject.GetField("SurveyDaysSince").NativeValue.ToString().value > '1' &&
(currentBusinessObject.GetField("Email").NativeValue.ToString().toLowerCase().Trim().EndsWith('@worldvision.org') &&
(currentBusinessObject.GetField("OwnerTeam").NativeValue == 'ISG Support' &&
(currentBusinessObject.GetField('IncidentNumber').NativeValue.ToString().Trim().EndsWith('5') ||
currentBusinessObject.GetField('IncidentNumber').NativeValue.ToString().Trim().EndsWith('0'))))))
{
objReturn = true;
}
return objReturn
}
}
6) Add field to incident table 'SurveyDaysSince'
set to auto-fill
7) Test it. ;-)

More...

Friday, September 05, 2008

Security: How to Set Up a Laptop Security System

Security: How to Set Up a Laptop Security System

In my 3 years of working in professional IT, it's amazing how often corporate laptops are stolen. LifeHacker once again creates a great article listing some excellent ways to secure your laptop. Check it out!!

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LaptopLock: Data protection and recovery help for lost or stolen laptops (computer theft recovery)

LaptopLock: Data protection and recovery help for lost or stolen laptops (computer theft recovery)

LaptopLock protects the data and aids in the recovery process of a computer if it's stolen. The LaptopLock can:

  • Delete files (secure data wiping now available)
  • Encrypt files
  • Show a message to the user
  • Execute a program
  • Play a sound
  • Visible or hidden from user

More...

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Donate your PC power for research...

WorldCommunityGrid.org

Did you know you can 'share' your computer processing power to help find a cure for cancer? Or develop new drugs to fight things like AIDS? 

Simply download this software it will download 'projects' and work on small pieces of it. It's pretty cool because most of us use only a fraction of of our computer's potential. Check it out!

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Google Chrome

Well the big G has done it again...


They have 'rebuilt' the internet browser as we know it.  I'm not ready to jump ship from Firefox, however, it's very fast and I appreciate the different design.

Check it out, it's small and quick to install.


Update:  A few 'fine print' items in the Terms of Service to note.  (courtesey of cnet.com editor http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10030522-56.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-20)

"1. Google reserves the right to automatically update and install Chrome.

This is becoming standard fare with much software these days, but worth noting.

 "The software which you use may automatically download and install updates from time to time from Google. These updates are designed to improve, enhance and further develop the services and may take the form of bug fixes, enhanced functions, new software modules and completely new versions. You agree to receive such updates (and permit Google to deliver these to you) as part of your use of the services."

2. Although you retain any copyrights to content you own and use in the browser, Google says it has a right to display some of your content, in conjunction with promoting its services. Here's there exact wording.

"By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any content which you submit, post or display on or through, the services. This license is for the sole purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the services and may be revoked for certain services as defined in the additional terms of those services."

3. Don't be surprised to see more ads.

Traditionally, it is Web pages and not the browser itself that serves ads. Google isn't saying it will change this paradigm, but it's terms of service don't rule that out either.

"Some of the services are supported by advertising revenue and may display advertisements and promotions. These advertisements may be targeted to the content of information stored on the services, queries made through the services or other information.

The manner, mode and extent of advertising by Google on the services are subject to change without specific notice to you."

Also worth paying attention to are the settings when you install it. By default, Chrome will add all manner of shortcuts, so if you don't want it to do that, be sure to click "customize these settings." Of note, it does not make itself the default browser without a user agreeing to do so."

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Privnote - send notes that will self-destruct after being read

This day and age, ANYTHING and I mean ANYTHING you type should be considered permanent record. As a result the need for the ability to sent 'self destructing messages' (just like James Bond) is becoming more of need.

Privnote provides just the solution. Without even needing a login, you go to the site, type your text and it will then create a 'link' that you then email with your email service to the recipient. After it's read it's destroyed and it can even let you know when that occurs.

Privnote - send notes that will self-destruct after being read

Peace

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Super Grub Disk Webpage

So the other day I uninstalled Ubuntu (I just deleted the partition) which was installed on my pc as a dual boot setup. Meaning that when my PC booted, it prompted whether I wanted to boot into Ubuntu or XP. It was a really nice way to play with Ubuntu, however, I needed the hard drive space back so I simply deleted the Ubuntu partition.

Here's the problem, if you simply delete the Ubuntu partition, the 'boot manager' AKA GRUB that asks which OS to run, can no longer function and you simply get a black screen with blinking cursor.

There are at least two ways to fix this.

1) Insert your XP cd, boot to cd and then select Recovery option. At dos prompt type fdisk /fixmbr. Reboot and you should be good to go.

2) Use another utility such as Super Grub Disk Webpage to correct the MasterBootRecord and tell it to boot your XP partition.

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