Every Techie needs to read something.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Creating A Certificate For Outlook Web Access 2003 Using SelfSSL

If you haven't run across msexchange.org yet, you really should give it a look. A huge amount of good articles, as well as discussion board.

I was browsing around on the site, and I ran across this neat article about how to Create a Certificate for Outlook Web Access 2003 Using SelfSSL. I know I am not really keen on buying a certificate for my company from VeriSign, and this seemed like a cost effective way to get some good security for employees using Outlook web access.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Great Quote - Happy Holidays

I know the subject is a little misleading, but I ran across this quote on Google one day, thought it was terrific:
Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for - in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it.
- Ellen Goodman
It doesn't have anything to do with the holidays, but I figured that since I haven't put anything else up on the blog, I might as well put something. I hope all of you are ready for the holidays, I know my brood is. Luckily we have all of the shopping done, well at least all of the shopping for the kids. I still have to get my wife something.
If I don't post anything else, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Need some reading material?

If you really want to do some reading, then let me suggest FindArticles.com. They index so many articles, magazines, and web sites, it isn't even funny.

I know by now, we can all find whatever we want with Google, but if you just want to browse, this is the place.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Windows Desktop Search - Enabled for Enterprise

Windows Desktop Search - Enabled for Enterprise ?? Hmm.... I just heard about it, so I figure I better check it out.

More Later...

Monday, October 31, 2005

Kitty Litter Cake

Ewww... I was reading a post with a bunch of recipes and ran across "Kitty Litter Cake". It sure looks interesting. If you read the ingredients, it sure looks tasty too.


Monday, October 10, 2005

I'm still here

I haven't posted in a while, but I am still out here doing that
one thing. I saw a similar quote to the one below, but thought mine was

Power Corrupts. Absolute power should have a UPS on it.
- Mike Scott

Thursday, September 01, 2005

The Joy of Scripting

Way back in the early 90’s, I found myself in the Marine Corps Computer Science School where I was being trained to be a computer operator. Evidently the Marine Corps thought I would be good at this computer thing. Their definition of a computer operator was the guy who maintained the print queues, watched and fixed production jobs, and mounted tapes on a mainframe.

There was this big debate at the time about who was better, operators or programmers. The programmers were the ones who wrote the code which did all the nice things, and the operators were the one who made sure that those jobs ran correctly, and fixed everything when they didn’t work.

When I thought about programming, I just didn’t think that it was for me. As I matured, I took some programming courses in college, and it was interesting, but it still didn’t seem like something that I wanted to do for a living.

About a year ago, I started dabbling with some scripting. This was really lucky timing for me, since Microsoft really started putting some man power into educating the public about their scripting technologies. I found the “Hey, Scripting Guy!” column, and I realized that with what I had already learned with Visual Basic, and looking at my text book (whew, I sure am glad that I didn’t sell that one), I could really do some cool stuff.

The thing that really makes me enjoy scripting is that the programs aren’t being used by everyone in the world, so I don’t have to validate everything that is entered. If I use a command line argument, I don’t need to make sure that it is only so many characters, or that it is a numeric value. I write the scripts for myself, or for a very limited audience, and if I don’t know what to expect from it, then I guess I shouldn’t be using it. Don’t think that I don’t check and double check the results of my scripts, because I do need them to be accurate.

The beauty of a script is that if you do something over and over, a script can probably do it for you, faster, sometimes better, and all you have to do is double click on it, or better yet, schedule it to run periodically. If it takes you four hours to write a script to do a task which usually takes you 10 minutes to do manually, then it will pay for itself after being used 24 times. I wrote a script called “tap” that will ping the computer I specify 1 time. It took me probably 10 minutes to write it, but now instead of typing “ping computer –n 1” I just type “tap computer”. I know that might seem a little silly, unless you ping computers 20 times a day, then you may think it is pretty useful. Heck, I have a batch file called “x” that just types “exit”, it saves me 3 keystrokes, but I use a command prompt about 100 times a day.

I write all of my scripts for Windows based computers, and you can write scripts in all sorts of languages, but I use Visual Basic Script. Visual Basic is not the same as Visual Basic Script, but it is close.

Now the bad part about being a novice is that sometimes, I really have to bang my head on stuff before I figure it out. The other side of that is every time that I really bang my head on stuff, I learn something, and I get better.

As far as actually writing the scripts, I know that the hard core scripting guys will say that all you need is a text editor like notepad, and yes, that is all you need. I have heard the same thing over and over about writing HTML. I still see a great benefit in using a nice editor. I know that there are some really nice editors out there with great features, but I don’t much like spending money on stuff if I don’t have to. The editor I use is Crimson Editor, it’s free, and I like it. If you happen to know of a better one that is free, post a comment.

Now I don’t want you to think that I am some scripting Guru, I don’t do this to make a living, I do this to make my job easier, and I thought it might be useful to make this available to others. Also, when you are looking at my scripts, I would not use them as a reference on how to write code. Let me repeat this one more time, I am not a programmer.

The first place that I would like to point you to is the Microsoft Script Center. This is one place where you will find some really good scripting resources. I love to take scripts out of the Script Center Repository, and modify them just a little tiny bit, or better yet, use them as a sub routine in another script. Another favorite thing to do is to get a wrapper template, for an example, a script that grabs all of the computers in my domain, then throw in another script, that checks them all for a particular version of office. So in just a few minutes, I can check all of the computers on my network for office.

Another terrific thing about scripting is that I will create a script for one purpose, and then the next script I write I figure out that I can use the first script again. The next thing you know, I am using that script as a sub routine in a whole slew of other scripts.

OK, I already gave you a few links, so let me pile on some more. The “Hey, Scripting Guy!” column is a great place to find solutions for problems that you didn’t even think about solving with a script yet. The Microsoft Developer Network has a bunch of resources, especially if you want to start modifying scripts or even creating your own. The Scripting section of MSDN has a huge amount of Resources, including the VBSCRIPT Language Reference and User Guide, a reference for Windows Scripting Host (WSH), The Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) Reference, and of course the Active Directory Service Interfaces Reference.

That should be enough to get you started. Good luck.

Find Scripts:

- Hey, Scripting Guy!” – Terrific Column at Microsoft Technet.

- Script Center Repository – Lots of great Scripts from Microsoft.

- ScriptingAnswers.com – Lots of good scripts.

- W32Scripting – Many more good Scripts.

Scripting Resources

- Scripting Section of MSDN

- Microsoft Script Center - Lots of Resources, and tons of tutorials and columns.

- VBSCRIPT Language Reference and User Guide

- Windows Scripting Host (WSH) Reference

- Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) Reference

- Active Directory Service Interfaces Reference

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Great Jeep Mishap

I really haven't posted much of anything since I came back from vacation, but I finally got around to doing a post about my big Jeep mishap.

Way back in June, if you can remember that far back, I took some vacation. I never really talked about it here, so don't be too surprised that you are just now hearing about it.

Anyway, in a earlier post about jeep concept vehicles, I mentioned that I love Jeeps. Granted, the things that I do with my Jeeps are severely limited by the constraints of my budget. So on one rare occasion, I was up in divide camping, with some friends, and decided to do some four wheeling. This is when my Jeep mishap began.

Just to give you a little background info, I have a 1984 Jeep CJ-7. She is pretty much stock, and it is about all I can do to keep her running. Aside from things breaking, I am trying to get the vacuum lines and sensors straightened out. After a good deal of work, I had her running pretty good. I had rebuilt the carburetor, replaced the dead computer, among a whole laundry list of other repairs.

So to continue my sordid tale, we were in Divide (Colorado) four-wheeling, and we were plowing through some pretty deep water and mud, at least for stock vehicles. After driving around and having fun, we decided to get out and take a break. I was standing there talking to my friend, when I noticed that there was oil pouring out off the bottom of my Jeep.

Just in case you didn't get that:

Now, being fairly level headed, after spouting a string of curses I opened the hood to find that a pipe that comes off my catalytic converter, and runs next to the firewall, had come loose, and banged a hole in my oil filter. Oil had then proceeded to spray out, coating the engine compartment. Later on, after getting a new oil filter, and some more oil, I realized that I had blown a little over 5 quarts of oil all the place. The Jeep holds 6 quarts. I don't know when the oil indicator light comes on, but at this point I assume it must be broken.

Note: If anyone from Green Peace or any other conservation group is reading this, I didn't mean to get oil all over the forest floor. I'm not a bad guy, heck, I even recycle.

At this point, I don't know quite how low the oil is, I just know that I want to get back to camp to assess the damage. After all, it was only a little hole, right? So I try to get going, but now my CJ won't start, not even a good sputter. Luckily, I have a tow strap, my good friend Scott is there to help, and he too has a Jeep.

We successfully get to Camp, and I find out that my distributor isn't nearly as water tight as I thought it was. After a little time to dry out, some starter fluid, 5 1/2 quarts of oil, and a filter, my CJ is running.

Just to use a technique called foreshadowing, as well as a healthy dose of irony, while I was taking the air cleaner off to use the before mentioned starter fluid, I decided to put the wing nut back on the post of the carburetor, so I wouldn't lose it.

I had the good sense to cover the opening to the carburetor with my hand, so just in case I dropped the wing nut, it wouldn't go into the carburetor.

As luck would have it, I did drop the wing nut, but it couldn't have gone into the carburetor.


Anyway, I didn't find it in the dirt under the Jeep, so I marked it up as lost.

On the way home, everything is going great! My CJ is running, the sun is shining, there is a loud clanking coming from the engine, and birds are singing.

???? A loud clanking is coming from the engine ????

I figure that I must have thrown a rod, since I had dumped 5 and 1/2 quarts of oil out of my 6 quart oil pan. Let us just say that at this point I am not a happy camper. After a very interesting time at a gas station, waiting on the tow truck, which is another story all together, I started the process of discovering what damage had been done.

Now the rest of the story takes place over my week of vacation. Everything up until this point had happened during the weekend. I start disassembling the engine, and I get my first glimmer of hope when I pull the spark plugs. If you look at the picture below, you will notice something different about the spark plug on the right. First off, it is missing the center piece, and it is all bent to hell.

As I said, this was my first glimmer of hope, since I had thought about the possibility that the wingnut from my carburetor had probably fallen in the carburetor. If you are curious, the two pieces of metal is what was left of the wingnut. It had worked its way back to cylinder 6, and the piston stamped it flat.

Here are a few more pictures:

This is the engine of my Jeep without the head.

Below is the intake/exhaust manifold (top), and the bottom of the head (bottom of the picture).

Now, I would like to say that everything is perfect now that I re-assembled my Jeep, but the truth is that it still does not run very well. Below is a picture the ridiculous number of vacuum hoses that I had to sort through.

I did my best to try and document the process of taking the hoses off, but when I was putting everything back on, it didn't seem to make much sense. I looked in the Chilton's book, but my diagrams make more sense than the diagrams there did. I am still trying to sort the whole mess out.

I just finished my school semester, and am taking a semester off to catch up on this, and some other things around the house that I have had to put off. Hopefully I will have it all straightened out soon.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Guides for Midsize Businesses

Greetings All !

Well, I am back from Vacation, and am still in the process of wading through my inbox. Looking at the most recent TechNet Flash, they have a link to the Technet Midsize Business IT Center, It looks pretty neat, with guides for various guides and solutions based on how many computers you have.

Friday, July 01, 2005

More Vacation

Well, I am going to be on vacation for a couple of weeks again. So I think the already sparse postings will become even sparser. We are going to be visiting a bunch of stuff here in Colorado, so it should be a great deal of fun, and I sure can use the time off.
I'll try to post some things here and there.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


What a great site! A friend forwarded this site that lets you find radio station information by city or state, not to mention if the radio station is on the internet or not.

You can even search by country or station format or country.

Thanks Brent!

Friday, June 24, 2005

WSUS Update

I have had WSUS installed and running since Monday. On Tuesday, I had finished playing around with my test group, and I decided to go ahead and use it on the whole company. Let me tell you, I really like it.
Reporting Capabilities:

WSUS has some really nice reporting capabilities. You can pull reports on all of the computers that need updates, and then drill down to see what updates. One useful option is to pull the reports on all computers that have updates with a failed installation. This report even lists the error code for each of the failed updates.

The error I have run into is 0x80070643, and KB Article 836937 lists some methods to fix it.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

FIX: Search results may be unusable when you search a network location in Windows 2000

I was just reading my latest Technet Flash, like the good Microsoft Flunky that I am, and I ran across this hotfix "FIX: Search results may be unusable when you search a network location in Windows 2000".

I know that I have run across this behavior a few times. Glad to know that there is finally a fix for it.

Monday, June 20, 2005

WSUS is here!!

I for one, have long been waiting the release of the new update services from Microsoft. I had played around with SUS, and never had much luck with it. So now that it is out, I have downloaded it, and will try to start using it in my network.

For a little back story, SUS is Software Update Services, Microsoft was planning on giving it the ability to update not only windows, but also office and other MS apps. For some reason they didn't want to continue using the name SUS, so they were going to rename it Windows Update Services, I guess they didn't check out what the acronym sounded like. I heard many complaints along the line of "I don't want to be called the WUS administrator". Anyway, it looks like they went with Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), which is better, but I think it is a little misleading. Oh well, as long as it works.

The install went pretty smoothly, with the dialogs screens explaining what is going on. WSUS uses MSSQL for its database, it offers to install the SQL desktop engine, but I already had it running on that machine, so it created a database for itself, all on its own.

It looks like the default is to download all languages for the selected updates. I changed this to only download the English updates, to conserve on disk space. By default, Critical updates and security updates are approved automatically. This was ok for me, so I will leave it as is for now. There were several types of downloads which are not synchronized, and I included pretty much all of them, such as feature packs and security rollup packages. I did not however, include drivers. I bet that would eat up some serious disk space.

After the install, I set up the group policy for a few machines. You can test it out by running wuauclt.exe /detectnow from a command prompt, and then the computers should show up on the WSUS machine. It allows you to create groups of computers for administration.So far it all looks pretty neat. It looks pretty easy to work with, I will be playing around with it over the next few days, and I'll make sure to post anything interesting that I find.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Photoshop Competition

Have you heard about Microsoft's Acrylic? Evidently it is going to be some competition for Adobe. It would sure be nice if they included it free, either with Windows or with Office. They both are lacking a good graphics editing package.

Problems with MP3 Players

I used to be a big fan of Winamp, and it is still ok, but I really liked the artist match and genre category stations on Musicmatch. Winamp has shoutcast, but it just doesn't seem to be all that good.
The only problem with MusicMatch is that it is a huge processor hog. My computer would start running really slow, and sure enough, MusicMatch was using up all of the CPU time.
Recently I have started to use Windows Media Player, and it seems pretty good. The advanced tag editor is a little slow, but the player doesn't use much in the way of CPU time. I haven't tried ripping CDs yet, and that is one think that MusicMatch does well.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

General Update

1/31/2007 UPDATE: I posted a little more about this in "The Great Jeep Mishap", including pictures.
Well, I know, there haven't been any updates lately. I have been on vacation, and while camping the weekend of June 4th, we were doing some four wheeling, and I broke my Jeep.
What happened is that in the process of hopping mud puddles, I soaked my distributor, which is bad enough, but while messing around with things, I am pretty sure that I dropped the air filter's wing nut into the carburetor. I had my hand over the opening, and I dropped the wing nut and couldn't find it, but I didn't think it could have slipped through my fingers.
On the way home the next day, the jeep started clanking like crazy, and I thought for sure I had thrown a rod or something, so I got a tow home. The week of my vacation, I took the engine apart, and when I pulled the head, I found 2 pieces of metal in the cylinder. I can't really tell if they are the wing nut or not, they were stamped flat by the cylinder.
Anyway, the only thing left for me to do now is to clean the parts, and put everything back together, which I hope to do this weekend. Between the Jeep (which is a 84 CJ-7 btw) and my homework, I have been pretty busy. This week I came back to work, and am still sorting through all of the problems and catching up.
When I once again do something interesting, I'll make sure that I do an update.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Slapdown on Forsake our troops.

I am sure that all of you have heard of the worthless waste of disk space called forsake our troops (don't bother visiting it), and I hope that everyone agrees the people who run the site are idiots who would have some very bad things happen to them if they tried this in other countrys who may not have such a high regard for free speech. But.....

Someone posted this on a discussion board for one of my online classes, and it sure is worth the download. It is a video link to the founder of forsake our troops getting torn a new one! You have to put up with a commercial before the main event, but it sure was nice to see that idiot get a good "talking to".

Since I am on this subject, I would hate to think that even one of the members of our armed forces thinks, even for a split second, that the forsake our troops web site represents how the sane people in this country feel. It doesn't.

You are all doing a great job, keep up the good work, and come home safe.

Semper Fi!

Jeep Concept Vehicles

Besides computers, I really like jeeps. I have owned 5 of them, 2 of which I still have. The 2 I still own are a 1998 Cherokee and a 1984 CJ-7. Anyway, I don't much like what Chrysler is doing to the Jeep line, and don't plan on buying any new models, not that I could afford them now anyway.

The only thing that I think Chrysler is doing well is producing some really great concept vehicles. A friend told me about the Gladiator, and Holy cow is it cool. You have to check it out. It looks a whole lot like a Willy's. I really like the merging of the old style with the new design. Unfortunately I have heard that they are not going to put it in production.

While I was looking over the site, I noticed this page about the Hurricane concept vehicle. If you look through the pictures, you can see that the driver actually pointed the back tires away from each other, and the front tires towards each other, and it spun in circles. Not sure how beneficial that would be, but I sure would like to have one. I bet it won't go into production either. I am also not sure what is going to happen with the Jeep Rescue concept vehicle.

Instead of making really neat vehicles, Jeep is going to make Isuzu Trooper Copies and imitation Dodge Durangos.
If anyone happens to have one of the abandoned concept vehicles laying around, please let me know, and I'll gladly accept it as a gift, or trade you some Karma. You know, father's day is coming up.

What is Ben Stein Talking about?

My buddy Matt sends some of the coolest / strangest links in the world. The latest one is a story in the American Spectator where Ben Stein writes about Nixon and Deep throat. I'm usually a big fan of Ben Stein, former Marine, smart guy, but I don't see why he is so flustered about the whole Nixon thing.
I agree that all he did was lie, and that isn't such a big deal now, after the whole Clinton thing, but I really don't think that you can credit him with pulling our troops out of vietnam, and turn around and say that he could have stopped the defeat of the south vietnamese government. Also, I have no idea how Nixon could have stopped the Khmer Rouge from taking power in Cambodia, I am pretty sure that we had our hands full at the time.
I think all of the other things that Nixon did were great, but let's not portray him as all powerful.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Blogger is just too cool!

I have been playing around with the settings, and just want to say that blogger is just too cool.

The thing that prompted this is when I noticed that I can create an email address for my blog, and then send emails to that address, and the email gets posted. I then poked around a little more and realized that Picasa, which is also free, allows you to download helo, and publish pictures to the blog.


It takes something really neat for me to be impressed, and I am impressed.

The death of Blogging.

I just realized that I have made several posts all in one day, so I wonder if blogging will soon die. Usually, by the time I pick up on something, it isn't cool anymore. I guess we will see.

Good blog names

I know that I can title my blog whatever I wanted, but I can't get the cool URL. I wanted thenetworker, but This guy has already taken it.

The next choice was thebitbucket, but This guy took it. Oh well. The bit Bucket wasn't posted to since 2001, and thenetworker has not been posted to since August 04.

I guess I can't say anything, since I just started and all. For all I know in a year someone will be complaining about my blog not being updated, and how I have the name he wanted.

Sophos virus analysis: W32/Mytob-CP

Mean old nasty virus! Just had quick bout with a MYtob-CP variant. The closest match I could find was here.

The one I ran into was a mutlimailer. Placed an exe called www.lienvandekelder.be.exe in the windows system32 directory, and added registry settings in run services, and run. The really neat thing about it was that it killed processes, like command (cmd), task manager, antivurus, and all sorts of other good ones.

This one sends emails saying that your email account has been suspended, with a zip file attached. The zip file has a pif or .scr file in it.

Luckily I only had one user who opened it. So it cleaned up quickly.

What a great site: Microsoft TechNet

Well, I figured that I would just mention how impressed I am with the changes that Microsoft has been making to Microsoft TechNet. They seem to be putting more and more information into Technet that is Valuable.

I know that all of the Linux folks and the anti-Microsoft crowd would give me a ear full, if any of them happened upon this post, but I think that MS is really making an effort to get some good information to the people who need it.

Also, if you have any idea on how to script, or would like to learn how to, then you have to check out the Script Center on Microsoft's Technet site. I am not a big programmer, but after a little bit of reading, I was able to paste together scripts to do all sorts of neat things.