Another child

Just popping on here to say my wife is pregnant. We just found out today.

My Son Headbanging with his Mom to Iron Man

This was sent to my sister but is still good for general consumption.

Droid Incredible Synchronization

Since I got the phone I was interested in getting the Calendar, Contacts, and maybe even a way to sync music files. The first was easy as I researched that months ago. The contacts sync method took a little longer and I just found a way to get it to sync with iTunes, which is a weird thing but nice. I have an iPod so all my music happens to be set up in iTunes. Most of it is self ripped music from my CD collection but a few are purchased via iTunes. Below are the applications I used to get things synced. The first two require use of your Google account.

All apps I talk about on this post are Windows only but I am sure there are alternatives for Mac and/or Linux.

Calendar Synchronization
It syncs your Outlook calendar with the Google Calendar or vice versa. You do NOT have to connect your phone to your workstation for this sync.

Contact Synchronization
It does the same thing as the calendar one but with Outlook Contacts and Google Contacts. I have noticed on this one that if there is no email address or phone number it will not sync those contacts and will throw an error. Not graceful I know but the error does not jump in your face so it’s workable. You do NOT have to connect your phone to your workstation for this sync.

Music Synchronization
This uses disk mode and I guess some iTunes API voodoo to access the iTunes playlist lists. You create a playlist and put songs into it and tell the program to take whatever is in that list and sync it with your phone when you connect it.

I know it would be nice if there was a single method to do at least the calendar and contact syncing but I have yet to find one.

Droid Incredible

I got the phone this past Wednesday and so far I am enjoying it a lot. First off, the phone works great as a phone. I get better quality calls on the new one than I did on my old phone, which worked well. The Internet is very fast everywhere I have used it so far. I really enjoy the email application and it works pretty good also. I am still trying all sorts of things with it. The only thing that could be considered a negative to me is the battery life. It is not surprising of the battery issue but I may get a bigger battery one day soon for it. The lack of a physical keyboard could be considered a negative for some but I am thankfully having really good luck with it. I do not miss the physical keyboard.

Enabling SSH on ESXi Servers

For 3.5 follow these instructions.
You must be at the console of the server for this.
Hold down ALT and push F1.
Just type in the word ‘unsupported’, without the quotations of course, and hit enter.
You may see a warning about it being unsupported.
type in the root password that was set up when ESXi was installed and hit enter.
You will be at the prompt.
Type vi /etc/inetd.conf and hit enter. This will bring up the configuration file.
Look for where is shows #ssh and remove the # by placing the cursor in front of it and hitting the ‘i’ key. Then hit the backspace key.
Hit ESC and then type in :wq then hit enter.
That saves it and drops you back to the prompt.
Run this command: /sbin/ restart
That should restart the managment services and start up SSH but not cause any issues with any currently running VMs.
Use whatever ssh client software to try and connect to it.

For 3.5u2 and above including 4.0 follow these instructions.
You must be at the console of the server for this.
Hold down ALT and push F1.
Just type in the word ‘unsupported’, without the quotations of course, and hit enter.
You may see a warning about it being unsupported.
type in the root password that was set up when ESXi was installed and hit enter.
You will be at the prompt.
Type vi /etc/inetd.conf and hit enter. This will bring up the configuration file.
Look for where is shows #ssh and remove the # by placing the cursor in front of it and hitting the ‘i’ key. Then hit the backspace key.
Hit ESC and then type in :wq then hit enter.
That saves it and drops you back to the prompt.
Type ‘ps aux|grep inetd’ and hit enter.
Make a note of the PID(number) that shows up for inetd.
Type in ‘kill -HUP PIDNumber’ with of course the PIDNumber being that number you saw from the previous command. This will restart the inetd process but should not cause any issues with the currently running VMs.
Use whatever ssh client software to try and connect to it. It should work just fine now.

Note: For copying files it only supports SCP, not SFTP. That is because it uses Dropbear for the SSH server instead of OpenSSH.

Below is a site I used for help on this:

New Super Mario Brothers Wii

Not too long ago I got a new game for my Wii. I had a gift card from Christmas so I did not pay the $50 needed to purchase such a game. First thing, it always irritates me that Super Mario games almost always cost 50 bucks. Mario Freaking Soccer tends to cost as much as the day it came out. That usually keeps me from purchasing the games. I understand they know they will get it often enough from a lot of people, it just makes me a bit mad. Anyway, back to the actual game for me so far. It allows you to have three different ‘profiles’ so I created one that I would only go single player on and one for when friends come over. The game is fun as hell for when friends come over as we talk smack to each other about our various Mario skills and it does stay lively. But for me, as with any Mario game, I want the single player to be a lot of fun. Continue reading

Preparing for some gaming

I just dug out a game I have not played in years because I am going to try and make it to a LAN party next weekend(I think). The game I am referring to is called Quake. Yes, it is rather old but the name was tossed around as a potential game to be played so I wanted to make sure I had it ready to work on my laptop, which I would be bringing, instead of my desktop. I recently got Windows 7 Professional installed on my desktop. It runs 32bit and my laptop runs 7 Ultimate in 64bit. I really doubt there will be much of any difference between the two in terms of playability. My recent games like Team Fortress 2 and slightly older ones like Freedom Force works fine on my laptop. Even Tron 2.0 from some years ago works great on my laptop.

Anyway, back to Quake. It installed fine using the installer that came with my original CD. I tried to get it running using GLQuake with no luck every which way I reconfigured the compatibility settings. Eventually after some digging I found ‘Fitzquake’. Since the source code for Quake was released some time back people have taken it upon themselves to update the code and make it playable on newer machines. After using that executable it started just fine. I was even able to pump the resolution to 1920×1080(1080p) which is HDTV standards. The game does look like crap now days compared to these new fangled ones but man, does Quake run fast as hell. Of course the reason it looks like crap is that the textures and overall technology running it is mostly from around the DOS era days before and just after the start of 3D accelerators. I played a few levels before I saved it and quit. I was a little surprised that I still remembered those levels pretty well. I would like to try multiplayer co-op one day just for fun. One of my oldest friends and I beat the game together many, many years ago. 🙂

SSH and Public Key authentication

I was toying around with this for a way to automate a backup but do it over a secure connection. Here is the basic instructions that I have for at least setting up the key authentication. Also, WordPress mangles apostrophes so if you copy the commands from here and paste them into a shell it may put them as periods.
Continue reading

Christmas comes around again

This has been an eventful year. All sorts of things have happened in my family and the market for jobs has been a bit diminished so this year things will be a bit out of sorts. More so than usual I would imagine. I won’t go into details here on the events that have happened but I will say that if I do not get back on the blog again before Christmas I wish you a Merry Christmas. I hope that everyone has a good Christmas and I would say hopefully next year will have a bit better run.

Google Calendar has become useful

I am generally the type that only uses Google for searching. I have a Google email account, that I do not use, and have been playing with Wave a bit but never really wanted to branch out past that.

At home I tend to use Outlook for my calendar. It works great but is not easily transferable to other devices or easy to access remotely. A couple of days ago I decided to look at the Google calendar web application just for grins. I noticed it had a simple downloadable application that would connect with Outlook and do 1 way or 2 way sync between Outlook calendar and the Google one. After testing it out things seem to work great with it so far.

I also downloaded Sunbird since while I was reading on getting Outlook to sync with Google it said it would work with the Mozilla calendar software. I figured why not. So far I have had good initial success with it. Today I connected to it and everything showed up, but a good 10 minutes or so later, some of the events were gone. I was a little irritated about this but after checking the web based method of looking at the Google calendar I was relieved that the events were still there. Sunbird would just not show them for some reason. I closed Sunbird and reopened it. After it logged back in the events would show back up for a little while before disappearing again. It seems that Sunbird or Google needs to figure out what exactly is going on.

I think that at least the Outlook syncing portion will be very useful. Also, if I get a Droid it will work with the Google calendar so I will not have to directly sync my home Outlook with the phone when I one day can afford it.

2009 Microsoft Event in Houston

Some months back I signed up for the event and have been waiting on it as they were promising they were giving out a copy of Windows 7 Professional to each attendee. The event was yesterday and I got there around 7:30a or so. The interesting part was that it took place in the AMC 24 Movie Theater in the area of Willowbrook. I signed up for the developers track as that was the only opening at the time.

To be honest, this was the first time I went and sat in a movie theater and did not watch a movie. I learned a decent amount about the changes from Windows 2008 Server to the R2 release and how things worked. While I am not a programmer at the moment it was nice to see how some of the things worked in the back end.

I have been to two other Microsoft events and this seemed to be more subdued than the one last year. I guess some of the reasons may be the economy and last year’s event had Windows 2008 as a new release and not just the R2 version. I did not stay the entire day but I did finish up the morning part.

One of the nice things was after the morning talks when we all were leaving where the speech had taken place, we got Windows 7 Ultimate. I was expecting Professional since it was stated on the signup website but was happy in any case.

If I get time I may give some detail on another entry of how everything went on my install of Windows 7.

VMware ESXi Server on the IBM

Well, so far getting ESXi installed on my IBM was rather easy once I got a CD drive hooked up to install it on the server. I am thinking there was maybe a compatibility problem with the SATA controller and the Dell. It could have been a voltage incompatibility because it started having issues when it was originally hooked to the IBM and it was in a 64bit slot. I don’t think the 64bit was the issue but the voltage could have been it on the IBM. I plugged it into the IBM on the single 32bit PCI slot and plugged a 500GB drive into it, for VM storage. I had NO problems getting ESXi installed on the two SCSI drives acting as a mirror and then creating a datastore on the WD Enterprise 500GB drive. Since everything on the server is now development and testing work I am not too worried if the 500GB drive crashes. I will be irritated of course but that will be it. The IBM currently has 4GB of RAM in it so I may take the 2GB of RAM I pulled from the Dell to put in the IBM. The Dell only needs 4 even with all that it does. Anyway, hopefully I will continue to have decent luck with this new configuration on the IBM.

Bout time

Original configuration
Originally I had a desktop computer running Windows 2003 Server as a DC. I ran it in ‘2000-Mixed mode’ for Samba’s sake as I was told it was important to do so. I eventually used the VMware Converter to make the DC a VM to run on my IBM as a guest. Samba ran underneath it authenticating off of the guest DC. That was not the most ideal solution but it worked mostly well. Due to some recent drive troubles on the IBM I had to come up with another solution. It was the SATA drives, not the SCSI, starting to have problems.

Dell Server status at the time
I was trying to get everything working on the Dell as a VMware ESXi Server. Most of the things were working right but a storage solution for the data was not coming up properly due to the limited driver support of SATA controllers and of course my budget. I still needed to have a workable solution so I could try to keep my data safe.

New configuration for the Dell
Finally I got tired of the whole BS since, at the same time, I was trying to make sure my backups were good that I had pulled often enough from the IBM. I backed up the VMs and then installed Windows 2008.

Once I had it installed and updated I tried the SATA controllers that I had and had to use the Vista drivers as I could not find official 2008 drivers. When the controller would get saturated it would cause a weird memory error and that would make Windows do a blue screen. As soon as I removed the controller everything else worked fine.

Once I got the machine updated and removed the offending hardware things started to calm down. I attached it to my domain and then created the shares and all that. I copied the data to the server in the specific shares and altered my VB login script to point to the new server. Once I made sure things worked properly it was then time to make it a DC.

As I said earlier, it was running in ‘2000 Mixed mode’ so there was more work to do. I changed it to native and let things calm down. I then updated it to 2003 on both the forest and domain. Once I did that I ran the deploy script, from the 2008 Server DVD, on the schema master and that updated the schema. It took a good ten minutes or so since it was running as a guest and not doing too well due to the hard drive problems. Once it was updated I set the 2008 machine up as a DC. Once I made sure any possible errors were ironed out I then removed the old DC after a day of running. Once the old DC was removed I made sure no errors were popping up and then changed the Forest and Domain to 2008 mode.

After ironing out any lingering issues on the DC I went ahead and installed VMware 2.x Server and put two of my backed up VMs on the server. Once is a Linux Shell server with 512M of RAM. The other is a Windows XP Professional SP3 running 512M of RAM. They both seem to run fine as guests on the server and do not load it up too much.

Alas poor ESXi, it was not meant to be

It seems that I will be moving my VMware related VMs and all that to my IBM once I have things migrated to my Dell. I wanted ESXi to work on the Dell properly but the limits of SATA driver support and the underlying PITA it is to dig up logs to find out what exactly is happening has become more irritating than I am willing to deal with in a home environment.

I plan to back up the VMs and other data of course before I start. I will then make the Host OS Windows 2008 and maybe run a guest using the plain ol VMware Server 2.x to get a Linux shell server going. I would actually give Hyper-V a try but it requires a 64-bit processor and none of my server hardware has that. I know most, if not all, of my hardware should work with Windows.

I know some may think, why not try Linux. My IBM is currently running Linux as the host with VMware 1.09 on top of that with Windows 2003 as a guest for DC related things. Linux also runs as the file server using Samba authenticating off of the guest.

Overall using ESXi is not really a major problem if all your hardware is supported and you have the right license but of course I am using the free license and the server is no longer officially supported by VMware but still works. Once I am done, I will try to install ESXi on my IBM as it has almost identical hardware for the most part. The drives on the IBM are big enough for ESXi and the like but not big enough for any VMs so I will be trying to use an IDE drive or something like that to provide the non-fault tolerant space for the development and testbed VMs.

ESXi and RDM

I think I have finally made some headway on my ESXi experiment. I have all the VMs and ESXi running on my RAID5 array. It all works great and the speed is not too bad but there is not enough space for data storage. I figured I could put a couple of 500GB drives and do a mirror. I had two possible options once I got ESXi seeing the SATA drives. One, partition them and make a huge virtual disk on each of the VMFS formatted disk. Then mirror using Windows 2008 for basic data redundancy. The other option was to set the drives up for ‘Raw Device Mapping’ (RDM) access. That involves mapping each drive to a placeholder VM disk. Then, all you do is add them to the VM you want to use them for. I am doing some major testing right now to make sure the controller and ESXi do not have any issues. The controller I am using has a SiI 3512 chip on it. It only supports SATA1 but for a file server you do not need as much on speed as you need it for reliability. Anyway, the two drives I am using for the RAID1(mirror) array are Western Digital Enterprise SATA2 drives.

To get the RDM thing going you first have to get to the local console. Hold down the ‘Alt’ key and push ‘F1’. It will show you what looks like a linux type command line interface. Once you have done that type in ‘unsupported’, without the quotations of course, and hit enter. Then it will ask for the password. Put in your root password and hit enter. It will drop you to the command line. It runs a mini-distribution of Linux called Busybox. When you are at the command line you need to run this command:


It will show you the list of physical drives names and what LUN ID they have. You need the physical ID, which is really long usually. Once you have that run this command.

cd /vmfs/volumes/datastore1

If you named your datastore something else then put that name in place. I would then create a directory in there and call it something meaningful as it will help keep the datastore structurally clean. Below is the command I ran, minus the really long number as I did not feel like typing the entire thing out.

vmkfstools -r /vmfs/devices/disks/vml.longnumberhere whateveryouwanttocallthedrive.vmdk

At that point you just need to go to the Remote Administration interface and then bring up the VM configuration and add the drive like you would when you wanted to add an existing virtual disk. Pay no mind to what size it says it is. The OS that you are binding the drive(s) to should know the correct size.

The Happening

All I can say is ‘wow, what a load of tripe’. I decided to watch this movie tonight as I wanted to see if it was politically charged as some have said. BTW, if you read anymore you will get spoilers. Continue reading

Active Directory Forest Functional Level upgrade

The other day at work I needed to upgrade the functional level of the AD Forest from Windows 2000 to 2003 R2. I was going to add another server and make it the main AD server. It is running 2003 R2 but the rest in the domain controllers are running 2003 RTM with service pack 2 of course. Anyway, from what I remembered, upgrading the level would not be a rebootable procedure but I could not find absolute proof even on Microsoft’s technet site. I proceeded to do every check in the book that I could to make sure that AD was working great. Everything checked out and so I went and upgraded it to plain ol’ 2003 first. On a side note, the domain level was already 2003. After that I had to use the second CD that came with 2003 R2 and run the ‘adprep /forestprep’ on the schema master. It made me a little nervous but it worked fine and still no reboots were required which I was thankful for and expected but with Microsoft you don’t always know. Just make sure you run the adprep command from the Schema Master. That part is important to the success of the upgrade. After that I was able to install AD on the new server. With Windows 2003 R2 the adprep command is located on the second CD in the path of ‘CMPNENTS\R2\ADPREP’.

Another birthday came and went

It’s all good though. I am now 31 and feeling ok. Nothing hurts yet so I am still young. 🙂

VMware ESXi Server fun times

I have been off and on playing with VMware’s ESXi Server 3.5 u4 on my Dell Poweredge 2600 that is spec’ed similar to my IBM Server but has 6GB of RAM instead of 3GB. So far I have 4 VM’s running on it and it seems like a sweet spot for me as far as speed and responsiveness goes. I have a Development ‘box’ running Windows 2003 Server Standard w/ SQL Server 2005 and is given 2GB of RAM to play with. I also have a Windows 2008 ‘box’ that I gave 2GB of RAM to as I plan to make it my DC one day when it is slated to take over as my main Server and I also want it to one day do the TS Gateway thing. I have a third VM running Ubuntu JeOS Linux 9.04 and I gave it 512M of RAM. It will become my Shell server for now. As my last VM I have Windows XP Professional SP3 with 512M of RAM going as a ‘desktop’ machine of sorts. It is mainly for if my workstation is offline and I need to remote in and access workstation related things, it will be up for that as long as the server is on. The only thing I am working on still is the storage solution for my data. I am getting a couple of refurbished 500GB drives from Western Digital when they come back from repair and plan to do a software RAID1. I may be getting another 1 or 2 bad 500GB drives that are still under warranty to return and get replacements that will end up being my spares for when a drive fails. I already have some spare SCSI drives for the main array. Once I get those drives I will have to spend a fun Saturday configuring everything. Once I get the system mostly completed I will have to test it for a few weeks before making it live. Yes, I do this kind of thing for home use. I don’t like having the system fail on me right out of the gate. It will be nice to have one big system doing the job of 4 machines.

I want a motorcycle

I have been looking around and one model has sparked my interest due to its low cost and reliability(from what I have read). It is the Honda Rebel. I know, people may holler about a Harley Davidson but I tend to stay on the broke side. A motorcycle tends to have good gas mileage, which makes me interested. Anyway, right now I am not in a position to purchase one but from what I have seen it is around 4k brand new. Of course I am also looking into a Kawasaki 2009 Eliminator 125. I am just starting to do research on this so of course it will be a while before I can even think of getting one. I also would need to go into a dealership of sorts to try and sit on it to make sure I know what I really could handle riding.