Monday, November 21, 2011

Belkin can suck - check this for one of their usb to serial adapters

If you bought the Belkin F5U409, which is normally ridiculously overpriced anyway, and you have x64 windows 7 like any normal human being in 2011, you will run into this beautiful snippet when trying to download drivers:

 Is the F5U409 USB PDA Adapter compatible with vista 64 bit?

No, this product is not compatible with vista 64 bit. It is compatible with Vista 32 bit computers. We do however have a similar adapter which is compatible with Vista 64 bit, you can use part F5U257 (USB-to-Serial Adapter).

They really have no shame.

As your gut tells you, this is not true - the device must work somehow. I found this fine post via Google, by a good sysadmin:

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tether with your blackberry - the quick way

1. Have a blackberry with internet, a usb cable, and a laptop (this one has windows 7 but XP works fine too).
2. Download blackberry desktop software. You need it so your PC can recognize the BB as a modem (in theory you just need the Blackberry device manager).
3. Connect the BB to the PC via the usb cable. The Blackberry device manager should appear in the taskbar.
4. Type "modem" in the windows search that appears when you click the windows key. Select "Phone and Modem" from the search results.
5. Choose a location if you haven't done so before - this doesn't matter.
6. Click the "modems" tab. The blackberry is one of the standard modems. Click properties.
7. In the new window, click on the "change settings" button so that you can modify parameters.
8. Choose the "diagnostics" tab, and select the query modem button. It should respond with proof that this is the blackberry device.
9. In the advanced tab, enter the following string depending on your carrier:
AT&T    +cgdcont=1,"IP","wap.cingular"
ICE       +cgdcont=1,"IP","kolbi3g"

read this post if you want to find out more carriers 

10. Setup a new dial up connection. For both of the carriers above, the number to dial is *99# and username and password are left blank.

That is it. If you run into problems, follow the tips on the post above, but these steps worked on a fresh windows 7 install - simple enough.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

If you have an SSD...

First of all, stop. and take a backup of anything you would not like to lose today.

Done? I don't care if you just moved everything to your dropbox folder, just do it, please.

If you don't have Dropbox (or know what it is), go here and watch the video. Create an account and choose a folder where important stuff will be synched to dropbox's servers and you can retrieve it at any time, from mobile devices or other computers. You might think lightly of this, but if you don't have some mechanism for daily backups, you will thank me - I wish I hadn't learnt this the hard way.

Now, all makers and models are susceptible to this, but I just had a terrible experience with an Intel 320 SSD. The worst part is, there is no guarantee it won't happen again. And it's not like magnetic hard drives; I lost everything. You can use a linux live cd to fix the problem, but you won't get your data back.

This is very important - DO NOT LET WINDOWS UPDATES REBOOT YOUR PC IF YOU HAVE A SSD. Really. Just hit i'll reboot later and do a nice shutdown. You will read why in the links below - for now just trust me lots of people have found out that a windows update re-start is not a graceful shutdown and it just bricks SSDs.

With an SSD, any shutdown or re-start is a potential disaster. The best thing you can do is just suspend and resume.

Update the firmware. It doesn't matter if you did it 2 months ago. This is the time when companies are realizing SSDs aren't as ready as they thought - new firmware is coming out all the time. You already have a good backup if you are paying attention - go ahead and update the firmware. It is not a guarantee but it will help a bit.

Last but not least - if you have a desktop, keep your important stuff on a magnetic drive. The tech is tried and true and you have a better chance of getting data back off a normal drive than a SSD. Use the SSD for applications where speed matters but you can get the files back easily, ie, OS files, game files, program files. Keep your documents and important stuff OFF the SSD.

If you have a laptop... dropbox or normal HD. The SSD WILL fail at some point.

BTW, if you ever get the 8mb bad_ctx error, look for the hdparm linux commands to secure erase it if you have a laptop, or the intel ssd toolbox if you have a desktop.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Move users from one group to another

Useful if you are cleaning AD. Note this overwrites the group members inside the dsmod with those members in the dsget part.

if you would like to combine two groups, use -addmbr instead of -chmbr, but this will fail if any users are present in both groups.

C:\WINDOWS\system32>dsget group "CN=redundant - group,OU=Groups,OU=someplace,DC
=childdomain,DC=domain,DC=suffix" -members | dsmod group "CN=original-group,OU=Group
s,OU=someplace,DC=childdomain,DC=domain,DC=suffix" -chmbr

I then deleted the "redundant - group", because it was redundant and used ugly spaces.

One good way to get the Distinguished Name of a group is with

dsquery group -name "groupname"

and then you just copy paste into the command.

easier, faster and better than using vbs's since it has no size restriction.