Sunday, October 13, 2013

Playing in the SAN

Today we are going to use TGT Project to do an iSCSI mapping of some raw storage on a Linux box.
This is a quick and dirty setup, being that it I would not recommend using this in a high production environment or for an extended period of time if you do. In my head, this is just something to do a stop gap on your storage needs.
Also, I highly recommend separating your iSCSI traffic from by different VLANs, as well as using a dedicated iSCSI initiator card instead of the Windows/Linux iSCSI initiator. But this is just my two cents, and its your network.

Verify that your iSCSI network card is present in the system and that you know what device it is, in my example here it is NIC 3, eth2.
[root@CentOS03 ~]# ifconfig -a
eth1      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:50:56:98:2A:95  
          inet addr:  Bcast:  Mask:
          inet6 addr: 2601:9:1400:11c:250:56ff:fe98:2a95/64 Scope:Global
          inet6 addr: fe80::250:56ff:fe98:2a95/64 Scope:Link
          RX packets:79145 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:5167 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 
          RX bytes:18240397 (17.3 MiB)  TX bytes:756186 (738.4 KiB)

eth2      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:50:56:98:50:F1  
          BROADCAST MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
          RX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 
          RX bytes:0 (0.0 b)  TX bytes:0 (0.0 b)

Next we want to set an IP for it, and if it is possible I like my iSCSI NIC to match my servers last octet. My servers IP is so for iSCSI on the separate subnet I will be using, just for consistency. 

[root@CentOS03 ~]# cp /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth1 /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth2 
Disk /dev/sdb: 107.4 GB, 107374182400 bytesvim /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth2 

As you can see above, I just copied the eth1 config for eth2. There is no issues with my shortcuts here, just make sure you rename the parts in orange to match your settings, and remove the gateway. 

And turn on the second NIC.
[root@CentOS03 ~]#  service network restart 

Shutting down interface eth1:                                   [  OK  ]
Shutting down loopback interface:                          [  OK  ]
Bringing up loopback interface:                              [  OK  ]
Bringing up interface eth1:                                     [  OK  ]
Bringing up interface eth2:                                    [  OK  ]

If you do not see eth2 come active, your config has an issue. Try removing the UUID line as well as verify your settings.  

Next verify the storage is present, I still like to use fdisk -l shows all the disks in the system, and that is a lower case L 
[root@CentOS03 ~]# fdisk -l

My drive is showing as /dev/sdb, so note yours for use in a few moments. 
Disk /dev/sdb: 107.4 GB, 107374182400 bytes

Now is when we start the magic, we install the TGT Project tools via YUM. 
[root@CentOS03 ~]# yum install scsi-target-utils 

This will take about a minute, and you will have to approve all the dependance packages.  My video shows more detail, but the files are in the same location. You want to edit the targets.conf for your device. There are a lot of options available in the configuration, but I was going for a quick functional, not secure. 

[root@CentOS02 terminfo]# cd /etc/tgt/
[root@CentOS02 tgt]# ls
[root@CentOS02 tgt]# vim targets.conf 

Give the target an iSCSI ID, and a target ID and then the path to the storage. direct-store is full access to the unformatted disk. 

        direct-store /dev/sdb

The server that I wanted it mapped to is a Windows Server 2008 R2. So I have a second NIC installed, on the same subnet. 
I fired up the iSCI initiator and put my IP in the Target field in the Target tab and it connected. 
Your milage may vary. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Kingdom of the blind

Before we start, here is a video link to the installation process.

With the introduction of Windows 2012 there was a large change with how to deploy domain controllers. There is no more DCPromo, it sends you to a link to here that tells you to install Active Directory with the Server Manager.

In the server manager select Manage > Add Roles and Features 

This will open the Add Roles and Features Wizard, on the first screen it will ask you to make sure your server is updated, has a stronger admin password, and has been updated. 
You want to select Role-based or Feature-based installation and then Next 

On the Sever Selection page verify the host name and the IP address and then select Next 
In the Server Roles page you want to select Active Directory Domain Servers, then choose Add Feature, and then DNS and Add Feature and then Next 

On the Features page verify that Group Policy Management is selected and then click Next. 

There is nothing really to select on the AD DS page so select Next 
The DNS Server page will give an error across the top saying that no DNS server has been authenticated for the domain, at this point it is an OK warning, so select Next. 

On the Confirmation page select install. 
It will take a few moments to install the features and afterwards you will see a message that the installation was successful, so select Close. 

After clicking Close, go back to the Server Manager page, there will be a new exclamation point there, it will be claiming that the server needs to have the roles and features you just installed configured. 
Select the box for Promote this server to a domain controller

If this is the first domain controller in your forest, select Add New Forest and type the name of your domain. 

You want to select the domain functionality level for your domain, if you are going to have 2008 or even 2003 domain controllers, select the functionality accordingly. 
You will also want to type a password for the Directory Services Restore Mode, this is handy incase you ever have any problems with the server. 

When you click next, you will get a warning about DNS not being configured for this domain. This is the step that will allow for DNS configuration for your domain, so go ahead and click next 

The Additional Options will install the NetBIOS name services on the domain controller. This should come populated with the top level of your domain name, but you can change it to be something different

Next it will prompt you for the location of the AD DS Database, the AD log files and the SYSVOL. I usually leave these defaulted to C:\Windows\ but again, you can change the paths to suit your needs or environment. 

Then we get to the Review Options stage, and that is where we verify all of the settings we just set. 
Just review and make sure everything is how you set it and where you want it then select Next 
* Note: There is a View Script button here, you can use this to create a PowerShell script to deploy the next domain controller from the command line. 

At this point we will be at the Prerequisites Check and this stage will take a few minutes to run, and it should come back with some warnings. 
The warnings I received were for the domain controller encrpytion level being compatible with Windows NT 4, for the DNS server not being installed, and for having DHCP enabled on my IPv6 interface on my single NIC. 

At this point we want to install. 
This will take more than a few minutes and there will be a reboot that is required with this. 

After the server reboots make sure you logon with the domain\Administrator user and verify that you can manage things with Active Directory Users and Computers.
And you are set. 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

And then we connected

One of the first things I ever learned with RedHat systems was the file /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0 is used to configure the primary network adapter.
I say that I cannot always remember these settings off the top of my head, because I really don't remember all of them.
I remember that it should look something like this


but there are so many more flags, that is just all i remember from the top of my head. Is this good enough to get by? Sure, but honestly, at this stage I should know all the command options available, like how to create a NIC bonding (ifcfg-bond0), or what NW_CONTROLLED=yes/no means.
So lets write this out in a little detail and get those brain cells firing and review the bulk of the options and what they are.

This one should be obvious, it is the name of the network card, it should be the same as the device listed in ifconfig, so if the device is eth1 the file name should be ifcfg-eth1 and be listed as DEVICE=eth1

This is the mac address of the adapter. If you need to compare it do an ifconfig -a and it will show you all the details of all interfaces. Since I am currently working within a VM, I have two adapters, lo and eth0

[root@CentOS01 ~]# ifconfig -a
eth0      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:0C:29:6E:8C:BD  
          inet addr: Bcast:10.10.10..255  Mask:
          inet6 addr: 2601:9:1400:11c:20c:29ff:fe6e:8cbd/64 Scope:Global
          inet6 addr: fe80::20c:29ff:fe6e:8cbd/64 Scope:Link
          RX packets:452 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:93 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 
          RX bytes:41651 (40.6 KiB)  TX bytes:12272 (11.9 KiB)

The HWaddr I happen to have landed is 00:0C:29:6E:8C:BD so this would be my MAC address.

If it is a network adapter the the type is Ethernet, in general though, the TYPE= can be left out or matched to the type of device.

This means it will be enabled when the system reboots

This turns out to be IPADDR= and this would be the IP address of the system. You can enter any acceptable IP address in this value, just make sure its on your network/subnet

Without going into too much detail this is the subnet mask of your network. It is generally a for a /24 and is adjusted with that range.

I have noticed that the Gateway can live in different locations on the system, and can even be set manually with the route command. ( route add default gw netmask
I just like to put it in the ifcfg-eth0 file out of habit.

This is mainly used to control if the server is on DHCP or static IP address. If you want to use DHCP change the BOOTPROTO=dhcp and this will overwrite all the IP Address settings you have configured. Don't believe me, try it out.

Now we get to the parts that I dont have fully commited to memory.

This allows the standard user to interact with the interface. On servers it should be NO but on workstations YES is fine.

This is just a unique identification number for the NIC, because sometimes you can run across a MAC address that is duplicated, think LARGE VMware environment. This number can be created and changed by running uuidgen and then copying the new number into its place. 

By enabling this you give the Network Manager daemon control of the network device. 
This can be good or bad, but if you are having random issues, say the network card does not work on system boot, switch this to NO and setup the IP manually here. 

Ok so it turns out I do remember most of the options for making a network adapter work.
Also, do not forget to edit your /etc/resolve.conf with your DNS settings or else you will not get out. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Multiple NICs and You

Have you tried to configure more than one network card on more than one network in CentOS 6.x or RedHat 6.x yet? Well I did, and I was in for a surprise!
Turns out, that you cannot do it on CentOS easily. I tried this one several servers and even though the IP shows up, I could not ping it from the second network. It was a pain.
Working example is I have interface one configured as netmask
I wanted interface two configured on netmask
After going crazy verifying every setting in my /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifgcfg-eth0 and ifcfg-eth1 files I found this blog post  that was an unrelated product, but the same root cause.
So after reading it i tried the settings they recommended and it worked, i did have to reboot to get it working fully, but that was all.

I then had another server we needed this on and I wanted to dig a little deeper, and make less edits, so i view the file /etc/sysctl.conf and this line stuck out to me

# Controls source route verification
net.ipv4.conf.default.rp_filter = 1

As an experiment I changed the 1 to a 0 for 
# Controls source route verification
net.ipv4.conf.default.rp_filter = 0
Reboot and POOF!! Both networks pingable from their respective subnets. 
So long story short, it wasnt a routing issue exactly but an issue with reverse packet filtering and how it routes packets out. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Installing Cacti because I want to believe

This is how I installed Cacti for CentOS 6.4
Install all the dependancies first
yum install mysql mysql-server httpd httpd-devel php-mysql php-pear php-common php-gd php-devel php-mbstring php php-cli php-snmp net-snmp-utils net-snmp-libs php-pear-Net-SNMP rrdtool

Make sure that apache and MySQL are set to load on boot.
[root@cacti01 ~]# chkconfig --list | grep -i mysql
mysqld         0:off       1:off     2:off  3:off   4:off   5:off     6:off

Well lets fix this
[root@cacti01 ~]# chkconfig mysqld on 
[root@cacti01 ~]# chkconfig --list | grep -i mysql
mysqld         0:off   1:off   2:on   3:on   4:on   5:on     6:off

And the same thing for apache
[root@cacti01 ~]# chkconfig --list httpd
httpd           0:off  1:off   2:off 3:off     4:off 5:off    6:off
[root@cacti01 ~]# chkconfig httpd on 
[root@cacti01 ~]# chkconfig --list httpd
httpd           0:off    1:off 2:on  3:on  4:on  5:on  6:off

And one shot check and startup for SNMP service
[root@cacti01 ~]# /etc/init.d/snmpd status 
snmpd is stopped
[root@cacti01 ~]# chkconfig snmpd on 
[root@cacti01 ~]# /etc/init.d/snmpd start 
Starting snmpd:                                            [  OK  ]

Start the web services.
[root@cacti01 ~]# /etc/init.d/httpd start 
root@cacti01 ~]# /etc/init.d/httpd start
Starting httpd: httpd: apr_sockaddr_info_get() failed for cacti01
httpd: Could not reliably determine the server's fully qualified domain name, using for ServerName
                                                           [  OK  ]
This error is ok for the moment, i just need to install Cacti and setup a domain name for it, so moving on to MySQL
To start the database took a little more than I was expecting...
[root@cacti01 ~]# /etc/init.d/mysqld start
Initializing MySQL database:  WARNING: The host 'cacti01' could not be looked up with resolveip.
[... Edited down ..] 
Starting mysqld:                                           [  OK  ]

Part of the message with the first run of the MySQL was to set a root password with the following command, so i did
[root@cacti01 ~]# /usr/bin/mysqladmin -u root password 'SuperDuperMultiSystemPasswordForBlog'

I verified that i could connect to the database.
I also created a Cacti user for the local host
[root@cacti01 ~]# mysql -u root -p 

mysql> create user 'cacti'@'localhost' identified by 'SuperDuperMultiSystemPasswordForBlog' ;
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)
mysql> create database cacti ;
Query OK, 1 row affected (0.00 sec)
mysql> grant all on cacti.* to 'cacti'@'localhost'; 
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)
mysql> quit
[root@cacti01 ~]# 

Now then whats next...
Oh yeah the download of the magical mystical Cacti software
Because I didnt feel like spending the night compiling cacti from source, I cheated slightly. Hey its a RedHat I am allowed to...
I added the rpmforge release of it. Instructions can be found here

[root@cacti01 ~]# yum install cacti 
[... EDIT ...]
 Package       Arch           Version                    Repository        Size
 cacti         noarch         0.8.8a-1.el6.rf            rpmforge         2.0 M

[... more Edit ...]
Is this ok [y/N]: Y 
and wiz bang installed!

Find out where the database template for Cacti was put
[root@cacti01 conf]# rpm -ql cacti | grep cacti.sql 

and install it
[root@cacti01 conf]# mysql -u cacti -p cacti < /var/www/cacti/cacti.sql 

Next locate the config file and set your database parameters
[root@cacti01 include]#  vim /var/www/cacti/include/config.php 

All i had to change were the following lines

$database_username = "cacti";
$database_password = "cacti";

Allow your network to access the web server
[root@cacti01 cacti]# vim /etc/httpd/conf.d/cacti.conf  
Add the Allow line but make sure it matches your subnet
deny from all 
Allow from 

Don't forget to make the IP Tables exception, or just turn it off. For my example off it went
[root@cacti01 cacti]# /etc/init.d/iptables stop
iptables: Flushing firewall rules:                                    [  OK  ]
iptables: Setting chains to policy ACCEPT: filter          [  OK  ]
iptables: Unloading modules:                                       [  OK  ]
[root@cacti01 cacti]# chkconfig iptables off

Now we get to the GUI side of it, and you can do the web based install.
You want to select New Install
On the next section everything should be green, if it isnt, you missed a step so go back and find your missing dependancies.
SNMP Utility Version - NET-SNMP 5.x
RRDTool Utility Version - RRDTool 1.3.x
And then Finish, login, and change your password.

Now you are on your own for finding your device MIPs and configuring them

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Exchange Mobile Devices

I have been traveling a lot for work, and have not had a chance to make a post, but here we go tonight.
I have seen a few people who work for companies that use Microsoft Exchange, and I can only hope that it is Exchange 2010. But they do not force the users to password the mobile devices, they should.
In my elitest view of things I believe that your mobile phone should be guarded at all costs, it is your lifeline to your friends, your family, your bank accounts, and I am willing to bet a reminder for your next doctors appointment. So why not at least password it?
This is an admin guide on how to force users to password their phones if you are on Exchange 2010, anything else, you need to figure out yourself.

You want to start by going to the Exchange Management Console (EMC) and going to Organization Configuration > Client Access
Then select the Exchange ActiveSync Mailbox Policies tab

Once you can create a new policy to deploy to select users, or a global policy that is defaulted on for all users. 

If you want to test it out on a few select users, you can create a new policy. It prompts you for a name, and you can choose the options you want to enforce here as well.

When you hit New it will give you a timer and then a completed.
Once your new policy displays in the EMC, you should open it up and review all the settings it did not show you when you were creating. You can do things like prevent users from accessing their camera or their bluetooth devices.

Now that you have the policy it is time to apply it to some users, for your testing.


This is done in under the Recipient Configuration > Mailbox.
Select your user then properties> Mailbox Feature tab > Exchange ActiveSync  and then the arrow above it for properties.
This will let you select from one of the existing Exchange ActiveSync Policies that you have, or the test on your have just created.

Alternatively  you can change the policy via PowerShell script.
Get-CASMailbox -Identity -ActiveSyncMailboxPolicy "StephenTestPolicy"

After your testing, you can switch this over to the default policy by right clicking on it under Exchange ActiveSync Mailbox Policies and selecting "Set as Default"

Sunday, April 14, 2013

HP Touchpad - All Space

I just posted how to Factory Refresh your HP TouchPad. That guide does not include the steps for recovering all space and deleting all data. That is this post.

Downloaded items you will need:
  • PalmWebOS SDK - here 
  • Recovery uImage - here 
  • WebOS Doctor 3.00 - From
Mount the Palm WebOS SDK.dmg and install the mpkg file, it will install under /opt/nova/bin/

You want to boot into the recovery by either of the following steps

  1. Power off the device, then power it back on by holding Volume UP and Power 
  2. Your moboot menu and selectin 'boot weOS Recovery' 
Once you have booted into recover, you want to run the following command, this is the full path but you can shortcut it. 
/opt/nova/bin/novaterm boot mem:// < /Users/smcgroarty/Downloads/nova-installer-image-topaz.uimage

This will load you into a boot prompt that looks something like this 
Once at this prompt you want to delete all the partitions and re-create them required system once. 
You can either copy and paste the following or type them all out manually. 
If you cut and paste them do it one line at a time, some lines have a prompt. 
lvm.static vgscan --ignorelockingfailure
lvm.static vgchange -ay --ignorelockingfailure
lvm.static vgremove store
lvm.static vgscan --ignorelockingfailure
lvm.static vgchange -ay --ignorelockingfailure
lvm.static vgcreate -s 8M store /dev/mmcblk0p14
lvm.static vgscan --ignorelockingfailure
lvm.static vgchange -ay --ignorelockingfailure
lvm.static lvcreate -l 71 -i 1 -M y --major 254 --minor 0 -n root store
lvm.static lvcreate -l 8 -i 1 -M y --major 254 --minor 1 -n var store
lvm.static lvcreate -l 2 -i 1 -M y --major 254 --minor 2 -n update store
lvm.static lvcreate -l 3 -i 1 -M y --major 254 --minor 3 -n log store
lvm.static lvcreate -l 32 -i 1 -M y --major 254 --minor 4 -n mojodb store
lvm.static lvcreate -l 17 -i 1 -M y --major 254 --minor 5 -n filecache store
lvm.static lvcreate -l 1618 -i 1 -M y --major 254 --minor 6 -n media store
lvm.static lvcreate -l 64 -i 1 -M y --major 254 --minor 7 -n swap store
lvm.static vgscan --ignorelockingfailure
lvm.static vgchange -ay --ignorelockingfailure
mkdosfs -f 1 -s 64 /dev/store/media

Once you have recreated the file system, hold the home button and the power button to turn off the tablet. 
Turn it back on and hold the Volume Up+Power to get back into recovery mode.
Once in recovery mood, click on the webosdoctorp300hstnhwifi.jar file, WebOS Doctor 3.04 will not work for this part. 

Follow the on screen prompts, and when you get to the install drivers, you want to skip that part that installs the drivers, and it will still install. 
It will take about 10 minutes to install the software, and about 5 minutes to boot afterwards. 
Once you have booted and sighed in you can verify and the free space should be around 13GB. 

After you do the install of 3.0 you can login and do the update to 3.05. It will take about 15 minutes to do the update. 

HP Touchpad - Factory Refresh

With the HP Touchpad, you might have installed Android on it, and then you want to give it to someone else for their use, only problem is, you cannot seem to get android, and all your data off of it.
Well this is how I went about it.
I am doing this on a mac, and i did have issues doing this on windows as well.
I could not get novacom to install on Win7.
I tried to follow the Guide - Factory Condition Reset and I could not get all the tools to work

These are the tools that worked for me:

Mount the Palm WebOS SDK.dmg and install the mpkg file, it will install under /opt/nova/bin/

Boot your Touchpad into recovery mode by one of the following methods
  1. Power off the device, then power it back on by holding Volume UP and Power 
  2. Your moboot menu and selectin 'boot weOS Recovery' 
This will display a USB symbol on the screen

to test that it is running, you can open a console and type 

It will display the usage menu
MyMacbook:~ smcgroarty$ novacom 
version: novacom-22
usage: novacom [-a address] [-p port] [-t] [-l] [-d device] [-c cmd] [-r password] [-w] <command>
<Trimed for space> 

Next you want to run the downloaded WebOS Doctor 3.04 
This will open a java windows and be labeled as "Recovery Tool" 

Select your language and click next
Confirm your language 
Accept the license agreement
It states it will take 15 minutes to 1 hour so make sure if you are on a laptop, you are have enough battery, and also, before i started the tablet was charged to 100%

At this point the software asked me to install the drivers, but it wouldnt let me because a newer version was installed. Clicking cancel still allowed me to move on. 

Click Accept and it will start the install, and it requests that you do not disconnect your device. 

Also at this stage it will display a microchip image on the screen with an arrow pointing at it on the TouchPad 
My computer took less than 10 minutes to do the install, and then about 5 more minutes of the tablet setting itself up.

After this, the device will reset. and should boot to HP WebOS and ask for your account details. 
Also, click Done in the java window, then go play with your fresh tablet, but remember our data s still on the device. 

Extra Steps:
After loading in WebOS, i created my account, let it update, then did a complete factory wipe to remove all of my data. 
I then logged in again, resynced my accounts, and then wiped the accounts again before shippit it out. 

Final Note, this will leave 10GB of space free on the device, for recovering all the space on the device, and deleting the CyanogenMod partitions and following the next guide.
EDIT - Next guide is All Space

Monday, April 1, 2013

Sleep with me

I recently upgraded my home computer. My first new one in 5 years.
A basic breakdown of the build is
Asus P8Z77-V LX motherboard
Intel i5 3570k CPU (overclocked stably to 4.2GHz)
16GB Patriot RAM
Asus NVidia GT640
2TB SATA6 HDD (Windows)
Corsair H50 water cooler
ThermalTake Commander MS-I Snow Edition

So the parts list is pretty basic, but I did have some issues that were unexpected. Like Windows would not sleep. I thought this was an issue I had created at first, so after getting everything setup, all the drivers installed, and the choice apps setup, I discovered the issue.
So I started over with re-installing Windows 7, and only the basic network drivers.
Same issue.
Ran the powercfg -energy and discovered that USB was preventing it from sleeping. The board has USB 2 and USB 3 onboard. So I installed the drivers from Asus, and still received the same issues from the powercfg report.
After a bit of poking around I discovered a fix that works.
Go into Control Panel > Power Options

I just search for power because it does not display correctly on a desktop.
and then Change power-saving settings > Balanced - Change plan settings > Change advanced power settings
This will pop up a new window, in the new window you want to look for and expand Sleep > Allow hybrid sleep > settings: Off

Hit apply, and you can now test it by going Start > Shutdown > Sleep
To verify open a command prompt as administrator and type powercfg -lastwake

Edit - 4/2/2013 - 12:00AM - Changed screen shot of power settings to my own screen shot

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A geeky calendar

To continue a little bit with some of the geektool things, i was browsing around and came across a page with a small list of common user commands at and found a calendar script.
The script they reference there is

cal | sed -e '1d' -e '2p;2p;2p;2p' | sed -e '$!N;s/\n/ /' -e '$!N;s/\n/ /' -e '$!N;s/\n/ /' -e '$!N;s/\n/ /' | sed "s/^/ /;s/$/ /;s/ $(date +%e) /\|$(date +%e)\|/" 

and that will give you a nice little plugin that looks like this

With some slight tweaking to the sed script you can make the dates line up nice and pretty, but i felt that the calendar in that format was a little too long for me, and I always perfered the square date.
So using sed I was able to take the above script and warp it slightly to this

cal  | sed "s/^/ /;s/$/ /;s/ $(date +%e) /\[$(date +%e)\]/"

and that gives me the following calendar with [ ] around todays date.
 Now this isnt anything advanced, there are some ruby scripts around that add color to the bars around the date, but I like the simplicity of this.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Format what now

This is something that keeps coming up so I thought I would do a few self notes on it.
There are a few assumptions here, at least on your part.
1. You have purchased/downloaded a ISO from Microsoft of Windows 7/8
  • I dont care what version that is on you.
  • I will not help you "acquire" any version so do not ask 
2. You are a computer that can support boot from USB 
  • This should really be a no-brainer you are trying to make a USB boot stick
  • You need to find your motherboard/computer manufacture to find out how
  • I will not help you with this step, I do not know your hardware 
3. Your computer is capable of running Windows 7 

Creating a Windows 7 USB Installation drive

1. Start by inserting your happy little USB drive into your computer, I recommend an 8GB drive, you should be able to do it with a 4GB
* BACK UP ALL YOUR DATA!!! if you have anything on that USB stick that you want to keep make a copy now

2. Right click on the drive and select Format. Choose NTFS and Quick Format, it will take a few moments but it will take a lot longer without the Quick Format selected
Well that didnt work as advertised. So I had to insert the USB drive, and then open a command prompt as administrator, then run the diskpart tool.
Once diskpart opens you want to find your USB drive, mine was disk 2 and i used "list disk" to find it
Once you find it type
create partition primary 
and then you can format it by right clicking on it in explorer to NTFS.

3. Extract the ISO that you purchased to a folder. I used 7-zip for this. Right click choose 7-Zip > Extract to  ... and choose a folder.

4. Copy the files that you just extracted to your USB drive. My copy is about 3.1GB and it took about 10 minutes to copy, your mileage will vary.

5. Next step is to make sure you have set the USB drive as Active and Assigned

Open an command prompt as administrator (start>cmd> right click run as administrator)
run diskpart and type list disk 
you will see several disks listed, find your USB drive, mine is Disk 2 

6. Run the bootsect.exe command to make the USB drive bootable.
Open an command prompt as administrator (start>cmd> right click run as administrator)
Go to the location that you extracted your Windows 7 ISO from the command prompt, in my case it was my Downloads folder.
cd \Users\smcgroarty\Downloads\Windows7Install\boot\ 
run  the command BOOTSEC.EXE and it will install the Windows Boot Manager onto the USB drive so that it can be booted from.

F:\Users\smcgroarty\Downloads\Windows7Install\boot>bootsect.exe /nt60 E:
Target volumes will be updated with BOOTMGR compatible bootcode.

E: (\\?\Volume{af2d4079-8e6a-11e2-a08c-001d7d09aba5})

    Successfully updated NTFS filesystem bootcode.

Bootcode was successfully updated on all targeted volumes.

7. You should now be able to boot off the USB drive and install Windows 7

Gone, all gone

Well my soon to be pervious hosting company was able to get my host upgraded to the proper and new version of, but it did come at a small price.
I have lost all my historical data for 
So none of my old stuff is there, and I am oddly ok with this.
That leaves it up to a new choice, do I want to rebuild on that same platform that just lost a couple of years worth of data, or move the hosting account, and email, to another provider.
I think I am going to move it to a new provider and I have weighed the options. seems to be working well enough for me. It is simple enough to use from my desktop and there is even an android app that I havent gotten too deep into yet.
There is also the WordPress option. That one seems to be more popular amongst most of my friends and colleagues, and there is also an android app for it.
Now the real reason I went with blogengine in the past was I had more time. I could customize the theme the way I wanted. I could do things like hide the login box, and limit user accounts easily. I do not have this this type of time anymore, so I am looking for something that does the heavy lifting for me.
The next part is cost. I do not advertise, I do not like banner ads, I do not have any ad clicks. My site generates less than 100 hits in a busy month, so I do not intend to make any money from the site, but I do not want it to cost any more than $100 a year, that is domain registration, hosting, and email accounts.How much would you pay for a brain dump site of your own?
My previous provider thought it would be a nice touch to register for me, "First year free!" and then start charging me. So I have had this domain for about two years without noticing it because of them. I had set it to expire after the first year, but they renewed it for me, as a courtesy.
So I think my next steps are to move the domain to (formerly tu-cows hosting) and then migrate velcrohurts email and blog site to google.
Yes, google, because they already know more about me than everyone else combined.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


As a newish user to the mac world, there are some things that I really liked about windows, one of them was Rainmeter. It was a good desktop plugin with a lot of community driven themes for displaying all sorts of items. I have even had some friends that spent a night or two making their own theme.
I was looking for something simular in the Apple world, and found GeekTool. I have it display the time, weather batter status on my laptop. On my desktop it just displays the date.
Lets review the simple settings for it here

This is the default Apple menu bar. I mean seriously there is a lot of stuff on there, do I really need the admin module? The BlueTooth? Time Machine? I know how to get to the System Preferences, so no, I do not need all that stuff.

There we go, much better. Now you might ask what about the time?
Well lets get to that next. I happen to run dual screen at home, so it is not a big deal here to turn off the time on the menu bar.

With GeekTool, I can setup a simple location on the desktop to display the time and date.
I know what you are thinking, and that is "but it is right there in the menu bar, why would you want to change it?" The short answer to that is "because I can" but the better answer is, on my laptop the menu bar is not that long, it has a resolution of 1280x800, so every pixel of space up there is precious to me.

So here is how the time looks on my second screen.
Now we are going to get to the fun parts of this, the simple code behind.

There are two shells behind the date and time.
First one is for time, and the second shell is for the date. I wanted a larger font size for the time.
Time: date +%I:%M
Date: date +%A,%" "%d%n%B,%" "%Y 
And I think that is all I have for the night.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Slightly Annoyed

What ever happened to dates on posts? I mean I can expect blogs not to always be dated, but what about journals? And some paper publications? Seriously, when I want to look something up, I check the date to make sure that is the most current source. If I don't see a date then I just move on thinking "it is so out of date, why bother?" I should specify, that this is mainly for technical things, like How to Add your domain to gmail for email.
the first entry on google, funny enough, is a blog from 8 years ago and I know it has changed since then.
So please people, put a date on your articles.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Here we go

Since I said this was a simple test of the blog, let me start out that way.
I have recently become an Apple user. I have an iMac on my desk at work, a Macbook Pro for work, and I am borrowing an iPad for some general testing. I am not planning on getting an iPhone, or becoming a full on Apple Fanboi any time soon. I still love my android devices and will continue to use them. But one of the difficult parts about all this was keeping notes and tasks in sync.
I dont need to share these notes or tasks with anyone, but I do have the options.
I found an app called WunderList, and it is pretty nice.
By default it gives you serveral lists, and you can add/edit those lists and share your "work" list with one set of people and your "personal" list with another set.
Another example is that I can be in a meeting with my Android phone, type the take aways from that meeting, go to my desktop, open the app or web page there, and start working on them.
I had tried to use Catch.Com  for this, but it wasnt as well rounded, like it does not have a mac or windows client, just the mobile platform clients. I am old, I like having separate applications for this stuff.
That should be a good, albeit badly, written first start on this blogspot.

Hello World

Since I have this nifty neato test domain,, I think it is time I actually start using it.
This is my first post with Blogger, and if i like it i will repoint my domain here, but in the mean time lets get started.