Author Archives: nightred

Rogers Federal Government Cell Plan

This week we have seen a nice leak from of the Rogers Federal Government cell plan. You can see this plan below in the attached image. The plan is meant for only official business and does not provide any funds to upgrade or install new towers as was explained to me, but this does reflect the cost of using the current infrastructure.

This shows how little it costs to use the service and how you can look at your own bill and calculate nice and fast how much you pay. I have 3 lines all with 1 GB of data usage, Voice-mail  SMS, Caller ID, Canada wide calling, and I pay 50$ plus tax per line a month. I also do not call people often, my bill reported around 300 min usage across all my lines last month with no long distance. I also used a total of 1.5 GB of data across all lines. My SMS usage was around 800 messages (rounded up) and I do not send picture messages.

Time for math: (Woot)
1.5 GB data at 0.03$ per MB is 46.08$
300 min of local calling at 0.01$ per min is 3.00$
800 SMS at 0.00$ is 0.00$
Lets not forget the plan rate of 0.55$ per line is 1.65$
My bill on this plan for all three lines is 46.08$ + 3.00$ + 0.00$ + 1.65$ = 50.73$
I would be saving a total of 99.27$ if I was to use this plan instead of my 50$ per line plan. 

Is the extra acceptable increase to allow for new coverage? I do not know, but I can tell you that I was promised LTE in Winnipeg, MB by the end of 2012 and we still do not have it as of this writing. 

Federal Government Cell Plan

Federal Government Cell Plan

Do you think this is fair or do you feel that Rogers is taking more then they should?
Further Reading: The Country Most Gouged By Telecom Companies? Canada

Pin RDP Shortcut to Start Screen

You can not directly pin a RDP connection to the start screen for some reason in Windows 8, even the native Windows 8 Remote Desktop Metro application you can not pin  a connection directly to the start screen. To work around this issue you will need to follow these simple steps.

Manually create a shortcut on, e.g., the desktop (right-click the desktop, select “New > Shortcut”), and enter the following command:

%windir%\system32\mstsc.exe "C:\Path\To\My\RDF File.RDP"

You will be able to pin this shortcut to the start screen or the taskbar, and remote desktop will now directly launch the connection.

Post file sharing world

What would the world look like after file sharing has been accepted as common place and is not punished by governing bodies?

Currently most movies would be produced by a large studio that provides backing for the film, this has the benefit of using the studios resources and locations to film. You have access to all the personnel and support to make a big feature film.

With the increase of downloading and sharing movies with out a purchase the movie studios are not able to recover the costs of movies that are produced. This is a major issue because with out the income from movies that have been produced no new films can be made, and the funding for the film has been lost.

The largest change to all of this has been services like Kickstart. These services provide a major change to how we start a project, you are not paying for the product after it has been developed, produced, and gone to market. In this new system we are presented with ideas that people wish to develop in to a product, book, film, or even a game just to name a few of the mediums supported. As a consumer you get the option to support a project before it is produced showing your interest, and showing market viability.

The change is very simple, we would go from a culture that is told what we would like to a culture that says we like this please make it. We have always seen a product or idea that would have been great but it was never produced due to risk or lack of backing. Now we can show the support and willingness to purchase the item before it has even been produced.

Think of what we could have with out marketing telling us what we want.

Ghostscript Setup Windows 8 64 bit

If you are supporting custom software or older line of business software that your organization needs to operate you might come across an issue with Ghostscript and windows 8 64 bit.

The issue is simply when you try to add the Ghostscript printer windows 8 will look like it is stuck in a loop, if you check the error logs you will find an error that look like this.

 Log Name: Application
Source: Windows Error Reporting
Event ID: 1001
Level: Information
Description:
Fault bucket -1485095716, type 5
Event Name: PnPDriverImportError
Response: Not available
Cab Id: 0

Problem signature:
P1: x64
P2: E000022F
P3: ghostpdf.inf
P4: 9fa1429c89509ac5eb7661ffa0fa86850304a1fd
To install the Ghostscript printer follow these steps:

  1. Open your charms (the right side popup menu) and select “Settings” and Click on the last option on the list called “Change PC Settings”
  2. In the “General” category click the “Restart now” button under “Advanced startup”
  3. Then the system restarts it will show you several options, you want to select “Troubleshoot” then “Advanced options” and finally “Startup Settings”
  4. The system will reboot one more time and you will have a new listing of options, you will want to select option #7 “Disable Driver Signature Enforcement”
  5. After the system has finished restarting for the final time you will be able to add the Ghostscript printer to windows 8 64 bit.

The final item of note is that you must select “File: (print to file)” as the port for the printer as “LPT1” will not work.

You can download the latest version of Ghost script from this website http://www.ghostscript.com/.

Set Server 2012 Network Location

After setting up Server 2012 to test with, I had a major issue with the network location. I was not able to change from the network location from “Public network” to “Private network”. I could get around this issue by join the server to a domain, and doing so would set the network location to “Domain network”. Although this solution might not be ideal or even possible for some people.

Local Security Policy

If you can not join the system to a domain or do not wish to join the system to a domain you will have issues accessing the system through the network connection. Now if you were to set the network location to “Private network” you would be able to access the system like a domain joined system.

Follow these steps to be able to change the network location:

All Networks Properties

  • In “Server Manager” open the “Tools” menu and select “Local Security policy”.
  • Select “Network List manager policies” in the console tree.
  • Open “All Networks” properties.
  • Change “Network location” to “User can change location”
  • Now reboot to apply the changes.

In the “Local Security Policy” editor you can also change the network type of your network if it listed by editing the properties of the listed network instead of the “All Networks” option.

Update: 
Several people have pointed out that this option can be done with the following Powershell commands.

Get the list of network profiles on the system.

Get-NetConnectionProfile

Change the network interface to private, use the network interface index number from the previous command.

Set-NetConnectionProfile -InterfaceIndex 10 -NetworkCategory Private

Domain Joins from PowerShell

I have been working in Kaseya a bit and I have had issues with domain joining systems and rejoining systems to domains. I would have even liked to rename systems if I could. After searching and testing many different ideas I have com across PowerShell’s way of domain joining systems.

Help for Add-Computer in Powershell

In Powershell V2 there is a new cmdlet called 

Add-Computer 

and it has more power than the GUI version of the domain joining system.

PS C:\> Add-Computer [-DomainName]  [-Credential ] [-OUPath ] [-PassThru] [-Server] [-Unsecure] [-Confirm]
PS C:\> Add-Computer [-WorkGroupName] [-Credential ]

The command below I will be joining the domain “testdom.local” and have already said what account I want to use to do this. This will result in the need to enter a password but that is a simple step. The

-passthru

switch will give me some basic details about the domain join.

PS C:\> Add-Computer -domainname testdom.local -cred testdom.local\administrator -passthru

You can even specify an Orginization Unit using the switch

-OUPath

if you did not want to move the system to a different OU after it has been joined to the domain.

The place that this is cmdlet great for anyone running a managed service system like Kaseya is when you can remove a computer from a domain and change the computers name and rejoin the domain. To change a systems name you can use the following command.

PS C:\> Add-Computer -workgroup workgroup -newname testsys01 -force -restart

The switch

-Force

will suppress the confirmation boxes since the cmdlet

Add-Computer

 asks for confirmation on all commands. The final switch will

-Restart

will do exactly what it says, it will restart the system after it has run since a restart is often required to make the changes effective.

Here is a thought

From van Dijk’s site: Life at the bottom of the city.

Why do you work? Do you work for the excitement, the challenge, or the fun of what you do? Do you feel good about what you do at the end of the day? Would you take a pay cut and be just as happy?

Or do you work so that you have currency? Do you work to feed your self and your families? Could you replace your job with any other job as long as you get more currency?

I wonder if socialist ideas do not fail because they are flawed but because society is flawed. Why is the idea of a guaranteed standard of living a bad thing? Why would you stop working if you had a guaranteed standard? Is it the fact that your work basically pushes you to work harder, does not care about your stress levels, and just want a more productive you?

Futuristic city concept art by Andrea, Italy.

I think you should work because you like what you do and you feel productive. I think we should all strive to make everyone feel better and live better. The world should not be a few rich standing on the backs of the lesser.

No I do not think you should give all your currency to charity and you should not have to sponsor children in a third world. Think about all the people that want to help why can we not just work at making everyone have a universal standard of living regardless of location on earth, race, or age.

Remember we are one race, we are one people, we all should all be equal, regardless of your personal view of how much better you are. You are not better you are not worse you are part of us.

Windows Installer Failure

I was working on a server doing some cleanup of old applications when I was suddenly not able to uninstall or install applications anymore. I would get an error about the Windows Installer Service failing. I have a quick glance at the event logs and found this gem of an error:

Event Type: Warning
Event Source: MsiInstaller
Event ID: 1015
Description:
Failed to connect to server. Error: 0x8007041D

This error does not give a huge amount of details, but according to Microsoft it translates to “The system cannot find the path specified“. 

I tried several fixes including running the following commands. You must have the services console closed or it will not properly reset the service.

msiexec.exe /unreg
msiexec.exe /regserver

This did not correct the issue, I next found a direct uninstall command and executed it manually from the command line adding logging to the the command to see what the installer service was having an issue with.

c:\Windows\System32\msiexec.exe /i {ProductCode} /L*v c:\temp\msiexeclog.txt

This returned the following error code:

MSI (c) (44:98) [16:16:41:018]: MainEngineThread is returning 1601

I have now reached the point that it looks like reinstall of the Windows installer would be the fastest solution, to do this I first cleaned the old installer from the system using the following commands.

cd %windir%\system32
attrib -r -s -h dllcache
ren msi.dll msi.old
ren msiexec.exe msiexec.old
ren msihnd.dll msihnd.old

After restarting the system I downloaded and installed a new copy of the Windows Installer from Microsoft. After one more reboot I was able to continue application uninstalls on the server.

Windows 8 and Browsers

I have looked at how to use a browser on windows 8 in a way that feels proper to me. I have found that Chrome works well in Metro mode, but it Metro apps do not support plugins at this time. The good news for Chrome is since it uses pepper flash so will have no problem with flash unlike Firefox.

My issue is that I have dual monitors, this means that I want two browsers open at one time. I have not yet found a way of having two Metro apps open at one time on different monitors. So you might ask why I do not just open my browser in desktop mode? Well when you have a browser set as the default browser in Windows 8 it likes to open in Metro mode when launched from the start menu. I could set a browser that I do not use as the default, but this means that every time I open a link from my email or in a different application it will not open in the browser I want to use.

How to workaround this behavior.

Pin Browser to Taskbar

Pin browser to taskbar to open in desktop mode

I have noticed that if you are already in desktop mode when you click on a link it will open in desktop mode not Metro mode. You will still have the problem of opening your browser in desktop mode to start with. What you can do is pin your default browser to the taskbar, and to launch the browser go to the desktop from the start menu and then use the browser pinned to the taskbar instead of the start menu.

Removal of Trend Worry Client/Server Security Agent Manually

I have recently needed to replace the current antivirus on all the workstations at a site. The installed antivirus was Trend WFBS and removal is normally simple except under a few situations.

The first issue is very simple the system is offline. Now all you can do is turn it on and remove it, nothing interesting here unless you are not in the office and doing this remotely.

The second issue is roaming systems, Trend does not let you send commands to a system that is roaming so this will be a small problem if the system never come back to the office.

The third issue is that Trend will not uninstall an agent if Internet Explorer is open on the system. This issue might be simple call the user tell them to close IE and issue the command again. The problem is that the Trend console does not tell you that it had an error uninstalling from the system.

I was able to solve both issue two and three using Kaseya, the management tool that we have installed on all the systems we manage. This was done simply with a custom procedure.

  • Close Internet Explorer, and Firefox.
  • Set the registry key “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\TrendMicro\PC-cillinNTCorp\CurrentVersion\Misc.\Allow Uninstall” to the value “1” permitting uninstall without entering the admin password.
  • Run the uninstall agent “C:\Program Files (x86)\Trend Micro\Client Server Security Agent\NTRmv.exe”

After this has run I can now install the new antivirus on the systems, I recommend using Kaseya’s implementation of Kaspersky if you are able.

I have attached the procedure for anyone that wish to have a copy of the procedure.
Procedure Remove Trend Micro Client-Server Security