C-FER

Toshiba Crapware

So I bought a new Toshiba laptop for a project at work.  Of course, it comes loaded with the usual crapware (just like HP, Dell, etc..).  The following cleaned that up in a hurry:

foreach ($prod in (get-wmiobject win32_product | where-object -filterscript { $_.Name -like 'TOSHIBA*' })) { $prod.uninstall() }

Your milage may vary - maybe do some testing before you hit uninstall().

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IIS 7.5, Drupal, Backup & Migrate

Nerdy..  look out.

I have recently implemented a new Intranet at work, using Drupal 6.  I could have gone 7, given it's the newest available, but I quickly learned that newer is not better - a laundry list of contributed modules weren't ready for 7 when the project started, so we stuck with 6.  I may be here long enough to regret that decision, but alas.

Anyhow.  There's this module, called Backup & Migrate, that I generally deploy on sites to automatically back up the database.  It gives you a bunch of options as far as where to put the files, keeping a specific number of backups and so on..  so it's nice to have.  Anyhow, under *nix, this is easy to implement, since you can remove the read permissions for the apache / nginx / web server process, and presto - not readable.  Or, if you are using apache, let the module write and install a default .htaccess that denies access to the directory.

In IIS, this is not so.  This took a bit of figuring out..  it seems as though I couldn't get the permissions set right on the file system so that the module would accept that it could write to the directory, but not read its contents.  IIS, and specifically 7, has a "web.config" file which I think is somewhat analogous to a .htaccess, except there's only one per site..  I think.  I'm not sure, it's a bit of a black hole of WTF for me..

Anyhow...  this little bit of config seems to limit public visibility to the directory.  It could be further configured to work with a multi-site installation using some regular expressions, but those make my head hurt, and I can't think about those on a Friday afternoon.

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Effing Wireless

See this?

image

This is a Linksys WRT54G wireless router.  You probably have something like this in your home…  Maybe not Linksys, maybe it's DLINK or Netgear or whoever.  The point is, you have something like this device in your home.  For it's size, it's reasonably complex; It'll manage multiple connections from inside your home (we'll call this the private network) from wired and wireless connection, and them go out and get stuff off the internet.  It manages assigning addresses and name resolution and all sorts of stuff for you, so that you don't need to.

The problem with this device?  It sucks.

Telus and the Internet Stick

image All the cellular carriers have these "Internet Sticks", which means nothing more than a EVDO/3G modem (depending on who you happen to have sold your soul to for your 3 years).

So, yeah, Telus sells us this Sierra Wireless 598 USB modem.  Works pretty well - performance is "OK", dipping down towards "Marginal" depending on where you are, how much network congestion there is, and so on.

Today, however, we get a brand new problem with it.  It will drop connection after 20 seconds.  Reliably drop connection after 20 seconds.  But only if the local network adapter is connected.

In this case, the computer was attached to a few NI components via TCP/IP, which depended on the network adapter to be working (for obvious reasons!)

Reboot the computer, and the connection holds - until you launch the NI software to acquire data from the peripherals.  Then the network drops again.

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It all started so nicely...

While the day started out all pretty like (yes, I know it’s hard to tell from the picture…  the camera on the BB Storm isn’t known for it’s quality), the drive was quiet and uneventful. A simple PC upgrade, some user documentation, a drawn-out discussion about pages in Facebook and what to put on it for the company made the day wander on by in the way that you might expect any other Thursday to peel by.

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IMG00046-20090528-2042 The first words I ever need to fill out when writing a new post.  It’s like saying “Hey Dummy!”  Start here!  And I guess that’s probably the objective.

We had a pretty quiet week, as far as yard work goes.  We had finished doing the painting on the deck, so all we were left with was cleaning up the tree stump.  Which, as it turns out, is a bigger deal than I thought it would be.

I had gone out one night, and started digging a hole.  Removed the grass (saved it, as best as I could, since we may have some holes to fill after), and dug as deep as I could, but the stump would not budge.

So, back again another night, and this time I start with a bigger hole.  A few digs into it, I hit a piece of wire.  What the heck?  Wire?  In the topsoil?  Since I wasn’t dead, I figured it wasn’t electrified, and I continue on.

I dig all the way around the tree, and find out that this wire circles the whole tree.  Keep on digging at the tree stump, cutting roots..  and finally at about 9 PM or so, I finally get the stump free, which is all well and fine except for this wire circling the base of what used to be the tree.

So, back to the yard I go, and I get some rebar, and try to lever the wire out.  After bending a few pieces of rebar, I realise that I need something strong.

In the end, I had propped up a 4x4 post on a pile of bricks to lever the thing out of the ground, and on its side, so I could empty the soil out from this basket.  In the meantime, I figure out that this was a wire basket that held the soil for the tree, and the whole thing was probably wrapped in burlap or something to keep it all together.

All said and done…  11:00 PM, and I was inside chillin’ out for the night.

I have been corporately challenged

  Wednesday night saw the completion of the only corporate challenge event I participated in – the road race.  The photo above is the running team, pre-race.  From left to right: Lesley, Chris, Paul and myself.  Where’s my shirt?  I said that it was used to clean up a nosebleed.  Truth is, I didn’t want to wear it because I didn’t think it was overly suitable for running in.  Call me a snob, but I want my clothes to breathe.  I’ve run/ridden enough in regular cotton t-shirts to know how wonderful they feel a