Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fresh from the Boxee meetup - 411

Beta won't be available until "3rd quarter". New features in beta: search for content throughout all of the channels; customize the home screen with any favorite channels; multiple profiles; content filtering... New channels like PBS, appbox with BoxeeHQ can be added now, Pandora, some pr0n was added back (was requested apparently from users), games, other integration will be added via API. Boxee will stay a software-only company and let hardware manufacturers provide platforms. They are also thinking of doing trends, how long you've spent watching on Boxee. There were tons of news and you may find the livestream on boxee. Lastsly, Boxee will always remain free of charge and iphone app will also stay free. Watching content on iphone via boxee app will not happen anytime soon because they want to concentrate on computer to pc first.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Load SQL Server Management Studio faster

Found this on twitter from @sql11. If you add "-nosplash" switch with no quotes to your SSMS shortcut in SQL 2005+, your SSMS will load faster by skipping splash screen. Tested with 2005 and 2008. Subscribe to @sql11 great tip!

Yet Another *Buntu distro Part II - Crunch Bang Linux

Continuing on our introduction to new Ubuntu-based distros. Here we got Crunch Bang Linux - get your heads out of the gutter, it's not pr0n concentrated distro :). It is based on Ubuntu and has Openbox Window Manager. Comes with widgets by default and concentrates on speed and usability. Contains Skype, Gwibber, Deluge Bittorrent Client, etc. It is fairly lightweight distro with Standard ISO being 688mb and Lite Edition 448mb. There's also CrunchEee Eee PC Edition for your favorite netbook. Get it here.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

My iTunes Podcasts

I think it's time I share some of my podcast subscriptions with you. There are a few resources on this list that I can't live without on daily basis and there are some that are still on temporarily while I review them. So here we go in alphabetical order:

1. The Apple Byte - CNET reviews all things Apple (V)
2. Apple Quick Tips - short tips from Apple on OSX, iPhone, etc.
3. The Art of Code - If you want to learn web development.
4. Ask The Techies - great resource on Windows and mostly Apple. 5. Best of Youtube - once a week, most popular Youtube video.
6. The Bleeding Edge - still reviewing.
7. Buzz Report - CNET tech news.
8. CNBC's "On The Money" - Financial tips and news.
9. CNET Live - CNET editors trying to answer caller questions.
10. CNET TV: Quick Tips - tips on anything techie.
11. CommandN - short news on tech.
12. Cranky Geeks - John C. Dvorak and other pundits talk about tech.
13. The Digg Reel - best of Digg.com videos.
14. dl.tv - all things tech from Ziff Davis, good HDTV resource.
15. Editor's Office Hours - CNET Editors answer caller questions.
16. Epic Fu - show about ART, Music, Tech.
17. Fortune: The Best Advice I Ever Got - weekly advice from VIPs.
18. The Fresh Ubuntu Podcast - still reviewing.
19. Get-It-Done-Guy's Quick and Dirty Tips To Work Less and Do More.
20. Hak5 - a great resource on hacking and administration.
21. Harward Extension School's Computer Science - lectures.
22. Howcast Tech & Gadgets - Imagine Lifehacker doing videos.
23. Learn Spanish with Coffe Break Spanish.
24. Linux Journal - great short videos on Linux.
25. Loaded - CNET daily tech news.
26. MarketWatch Morning Stock Talk - latest news on stock performance.
27. Midnight DBA - SQL Server tips.
28. Money Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for a Richer Life.
29. OnMicrosoft - short interviews with Microsoft engineers.
30. OnOpenSource - short interviews with Open Source developers.
31. OnSecuriy - short interviews with security consultants.
32. Open Sources - audio podcast on Linux and Open Source.
33. Run Your Own Server - audio podcast on BSD and administration.
34. Scam School - tips to get free beer at a bar.
35. Small Business Bulletin - tips on running SMB.
36. SourceTrunk - audio podcast on Linux and Belgian Beer.
37. SQLServerPedia SQL Server Training - Quest's engineers on SQL.
38. Systm - Great resource on DIY.
39. Tekzilla - Great Windows and OSX tips.
40. TorrentFreak - news on Pirate Bay and P2P.
41. Ubuntu UK Podcast - great Ubuntu resource.
42. Wall Street Journal on Small Business.
43. Wall Street Journal What's News - stock news.
44. Wired's Gadget Lab Video Podcast - still reviewing.

And that's about it. Every week my list changes plus or minus two or three. Some that I am reviewing may or may not go away but you get the idea. Please subscribe in iTunes or Miro.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fences - an app similar to KDE 4 desktop folders


If you are familiar with the KDE 4 Desktop and would like to replicate some of the functionality on Windows, (besides installing KDE on Windows). Or If you just want to consolidate your messy desktop full of icons, I have a solution for you and it will cost you absolutely nothing! Install Fences from the creators of Stardock (Windows version of dock from Mac OSX or Avant Window Navigator for Linux). It allows you to drop all your icons into virtual folders on your desktop. Double click and folders disappear, double click again and they come back, magic... About time Windows, about time.

Enjoy

Yet Another *Buntu distro - nUbuntu, for security-minded users

This is getting ridiculous! There are so many derivatives of Ubuntu currently available and now there's another one. Well, it's been around since 2006 but I just found out about it from Ubuntu UK podcast. This version has security tools installed and missing some features that potentially can compromise your machine; like Open Office and Evolution. It is much leaner than a regular Ubuntu ISO and they even have funny naming scheme, Ubuntu - Intrepid Ibex is called Instigating Insecurity. That's pretty funny! Anyway, check it out at nUbuntu

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

#blogger  We got hit by Conflicker.c virus and have been feeling the effects for the past week. This virus spreads by e-mailing itself to everyone in the Outlook Address Book. My admin account was one of those and virus tried to send itself out using my account and while trying to authenticate, my admin account got locked out. Our server admins renamed all of the admin accounts and inserted a special character so that they would be invisible. The problem that affected my SQL Servers was that when you login with Remote Desktop to create SQL Jobs and Maintenance Tasks, SQL Server makes you the owner of the given task.  Obviously my admin account cannot be found anymore and job fails. A fix is pretty easy though, assign a sql login, i.e. SA or some other as the owner of SQL Jobs.    [image: Error.jpg]

We got hit by Conflicker.c virus and have been feeling the effects for the
past week. This virus spreads by e-mailing itself to everyone in the Outlook
Address Book. My admin account was one of those and virus tried to send
itself out using my account and while trying to authenticate, my admin
account got locked out. Our server admins renamed all of the admin accounts
and inserted a special character so that they would be invisible. The
problem that affected my SQL Servers was that when you login with Remote
Desktop to create SQL Jobs and Maintenance Tasks, SQL Server makes you the
owner of the given task. Obviously my admin account cannot be found anymore
and job fails. A fix is pretty easy though, assign a sql login, i.e. SA or
some other as the owner of SQL Jobs.



[image: Error.jpg]

SQL 2000 Cluster Network IP change

There is a known issue with SQL 2000 Cluster when you change IP address on the cluster. Some registry keys do not get applied with correct data. You must follow the instructions provided by Microsoft for SQL 2000 and secondly and very important.. YOU MUST USE THE SQL 2000 CD when you change IP. You cannot do it over network. This has caused many problems at our site, until yesterday when we successfully updated SQL 2000 cluster with new IPs. We got one small snag though. We got an error message:

2009-03-18 00:22:15.17 server SuperSocket Info: Bind failed on TCP port 1433.
2009-03-18 00:22:15.34 server SQL server listening on Shared Memory, Named Pipes.
2009-03-18 00:22:15.34 server SQL Server is ready for client connections


Microsoft has a work around for this but that's now what we did. Our server admin looked in the log for the cluster and found that a registry key was not updated with new IP. He copied the data from the hive and then we were good. Just to summarize, this error means SQL port is being used by another application. I ran nmap to see if it was actually used and no it wasn't. However, after the manual intervention, all was good. Here is a sample of what it should look like:

2009-03-18 01:37:19.87 server SQL server listening on 10.1.1.111: 1433.
2009-03-18 01:37:19.89 server SQL server listening on TCP, Shared Memory, Named Pipes.
2009-03-18 01:37:19.89 server SQL Server is ready for client connections


See the difference? It is not obvious unless you trying to use ODBC. SQL will still run but any application using ODBC will not be able to connect to database. You can all try to test this by logging in to Management studio with:

tcp:10.1.1.111,1433

if doesn't work, check in the log to see the message "listeningon TCP".

Enjoy.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My Most Frequently Used Apps at Home

There are apps that you most commonly use at home and at the office. This post will list my home apps:

1. iTunes - sync music and podcasts to my iPhone.
2. Yahoo Widgets - Wifi, weather, battery, cpu, clock widgets
3. Thunderbird Mail - I am more productive reading mail with Thunderbird than Gmail
4. Miro - iTunes cannot play everything, discover other podcasts Apple wouldn't show
5. VLC - a must have to view any video format under the sun. Never fails!
6. Notepad - duh
7. Command Prompt
8. Firefox - duh
9. CDBurnerXP - on Windows, K3B or Brasero on Ubuntu
10. Boxee and Plex - Media Center
11. Winpatrol - UAC and random settings for XP
12. Digsby - Best IM Client for Windows
13. Visual Task Tips - thumbnail review like Compiz and Vista/Windows7
14. iPhoneBrowser - just installed, browse iPhone internal directories
15. VirtualWin - toggle through multiple desktops on Windows - Spaces on Mac, Compiz
16. Update Checker - still beta but awesome tool to check application updates
17. Defraggler - a much better defragment tool for Windows
18. CCleaner - if you don't know this and run Windows.. you're in trouble
19. Ad-Aware - you're in trouble...
20. Avast - antivirus!
21. Skype
22. Picasa3
23. Twhirl - just installed for Twitter, needs Adobe Air.

You get the picture, there may be more but I can't think of them right now..

Great Sql Server Resource - SQLServerPedia and Midnight DBA

Two great resources to look for if you're a visual person rather than into reading books are SQLServerPedia from Quest Software and Midnight DBA. I found them through iTunes podcasts. You can also download these podcasts or stream. I highly recommend these resources if you want to get started or strengthen your portfolio with SQL Server.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

boot your Dual+ Core Windows machine faster as seen on Tekzilla

boot your Windows machine with more than one CPU faster by doing the following:

1. start/run/msconfig
2. select Boot.ini tab
3. select Advanced Options
4. select /NUMPROC and in the newly opened window select how many cores you want to help booting your box.

Definitely boots faster on my machine. Cannot provide performance boost but noticed it's faster. I don't know the consequences of the change, so definitely Google it.

Thanks.

VisualTaskTips as seen on Tekzilla

Visual Task Tips tool brings a small feature from Vista to XP. If you hover over a minimized window on your taskbar, it will show you a small thumbnail picture of the window. Great productivity booster and free!

Get it

Friday, March 6, 2009

Spiceworks - monitoring and inventory

I was testing Spiceworks to find a nice alternative to a long overdue monitoring app for my SQL servers. It is still not sufficient for my application, however 5 minute demo to our IT director turned this into a tool our department cannot work without. The techs really embraced the tool because it allows for scenarios other tools cannot provide for. At least we havent come across anything this simple and cheap. Reporting against the inventory allows for any type of info, type of RAM, installed apps, virus info, etc. The app is free with ads, paid support and ad-free option also available. Highly recommend this tool for home and small shops, otherwise it can be pretty slow.